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10 People with Autism Who Gave Our Community 10 Years of Hope

These self-advocates have given '10 Years of Hope' to our community. As we look at our 10 Years of Progress as an organization here at Autism Speaks we wanted to highlight some of our leaders within our community. This list was populated based on those who have worked with our organization in the past and popular content via our In Our Own Words and Heart of Autism blog series…

Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin is an autism advocate who rose to fame as an author of several books on autism, in addition to the 2010 HBO Film on her life titled 'Temple Grandin'. She speaks across the country about her life growing up with autism and is a professor at Colorado State University. 

Stephen Shore

Dr. Stephen Shore is a respected educator, researcher and autism self-advocate. A professor of special education at Adelphi University, Dr. Shore challenges our community to emphasize the need to embrace an “ability-based” outlook when looking at individuals with autism. Dr. Shore today discusses his life on the autism spectrum and has traveled the world sharing his inspiring story. In 2013, Dr. Shore was our keynote speaker at our Autism Speaks National Conference.

Carly Fleischmann

Carly Fleischmann is a internationally-recognized speaker who is non-verbal and on the autism spectrum. Fleischmann in 2012 wrote the best-selling book called “Carly’s Voice’ which is based on her ability to find a way to communicate via her computer. Fleischmann followed this accomplishment by being featured in Carly’s Café, a first person perspective video which shows what someone on the autism spectrum may go through in a crowded coffee shop in regards to overload.

Amy Gravino

Amy is the founder of her own business, A.S.C.O.T Coaching, LLC, through which she coaches other students on the spectrum through the college process. Amy is also an autism advocate and serves on the board of several non-profit agencies as a voice for individuals on the spectrum, including a member of the Autism Speaks Communications Committee. Amy was also a finalist in the '30 Under 30' Campaign highlighting adults with autism under the age of 30! In 2014, Amy gave her first TEDxTalk at Seton Hall University. Follow Amy on Facebook and Twitter.

Grant Manier

Grant is an eco-artist who is on the autism spectrum. He uses things such as paper to make works of art where he makes portraits, calendars and much more. Along with his art work he is also a speaker and has worked with Dr. Temple Grandin. Dr. Grandin says of Grant, "Grant's artwork is fabulous and his images are beautiful. Grant has attained the status of being a professional artist. 

Anthony Ianni

Anthony is one of the tallest advocates we have in our community today. Diagnosed with autism at 4, Anthony went on to become the first individual on the autism spectrum to play college basketball under coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State University. After his 4 years on the team he sought out to become of the most prolific anti-bullying speakers in the country. 

Dani Bowman

Dani, a 18-year-old woman on the autism spectrum has accomplished many feats in her life. When she was 11 years old she started an organization called Powerlight Studios, a sole proprietorship, focused on animation, illustration and graphic arts. Dani today is a speaker and has published and illustrated 5 books. 

Ann Kagarise

Ann is the Assistant Director at IDEA House Educational Services, a published author, a journalist, a photographer, conselor, and volunteer in her community. This year Kagarise wrote a heart warming blog about her experiences as one of the only teachers in the country who also happens to be on the autism spectrum. 

Scott Lentine

Scott Lentine, a 26 year old with autism from Billerica, Massachusetts. Lentine is an office intern at the Arc of Massachusetts and writes poetry at His poetry has been recognized both with local and national audiences for sharing his perspective as someone who is on the autism spectrum.

Ido Kedar

Ido Kedar is a 17-year-old young man with autism, and a champion and advocate for individuals of all ages with severe autism. Kedar is nonverbal, and for the first seven years of his life, was unable to communicate with the people around him. Today he has written the best-selling book Ido In Autismland and is a motivational speaker. 

Who from our community would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!

Know of someone on the autism spectrum who would like to write for our In Our Own Words blog series? Tell them to email us at!

Anyone on the autism spectrum helping others with autism in your community? We want to hear their story. Email us at!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.