From caring santa, to Ellen and the New York Jets, to Sesame Street's big announcement, take a look back at the top 10 most-read autism news articles of 2015.
Parents and children of all ages, those with or without special needs, can use the movie “Inside Out” to discuss how feelings affect their lives in meaningful ways. “Garrett is excited now that he can tell me what emotion he is feeling and it helps me to understand my son,” said Paula Hollis. Read more here.
Jordan Spieth won the Masters in April, finishing a historic run where he lead from start to finish. At 18-under, he tied for the best score ever. With all the buzz around his extroadinary talent, Spieth says what keeps him grounded is his sister Ellie, who has autism. Spieth, inspired by Ellie, began the Jordan Spieth Charitable Trust to support military families, junior golfers and special needs youth. Read more about Spieth here.
Aly Bonville is a recent high school graduate who has a twin brother with autism. She shared her touching story about growing up with her brother, Anders, and how she got him to walk with her at her graduation ceremony. Read here story here.
D.L. Hughley, star of reality show "The Hughleys" and "The Original Kings of Comedy," shared an emotional story about his son Kyle, who has autism, during an "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" interview. Kyle was diagnosed with autism as a child. He's now 26 years old and follows a very regimented schedule. Watch his interview above and read more about his story here.
Drivers in Alabama who have been diagnosed with autism can now carry around a special identification card to communicate with police and others. "The police, if I ever got in contact with any law enforcement it would help understand me better and treat me better,” said Karen Willis, a 23-year-old young woman on the spectrum. Read more here.
Danielle Jacobs, who is on the autism spectrum, shared a deeply personal video showing her service dog, Samson, stopping her from self harm to raise awareness about her experience on the spectrum. Jacobs posted the video, saying "This is what having aspergers is like. Please no negative comments this really happened and it's not easy to open myself and share what it's like on a daily basis." Read more and find our resources here.
Sarah Kardonsky, a high school girl from Levittown, New York asked Michael Logano, a teenager on the autism spectrum to her school to prom. When she found out that Logano was a huge Jets fan she even got the New York Jets to help ask him to prom. The story gained national attention and even caught the eye of Ellen Degeneres who invited the prom couple on to The Ellen Degeneres Show. Read what happened next here.
Elmo and Abby Cadabby have a new friend and she is on the autism spectrum. Sesame Workshop has introduced Julia as part of their “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” initiative. Read more about the new character here.
Broadway star Kelvin Moon Loh is currently in "The King and I" and during a show earlier this year, a young boy with autism shouted loudly from the audience during a quiet scene. According to Kelvin, many in the audience reacted very negatively to the interruption and to the mother. The incident and reaction promoted Kelvin to write an open letter on his Facebook page. Read his touching letter here.
After her son Brayden was diagnosed with autism at age three, Erin Deely assumed there were some experiences that just might not be in the cards for her family. "I thought we would never get those holiday pictures with him because it's something he can't handle – the noise, and the pressure. He gets anxious if you ask him to smile, it's all too much for him," Erin told PEOPLE.
But on November 22, Erin decided to give it a try and brought Brayden to a special Caring Santa event at SouthPark mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. Caring Santa is a program that provides special needs families with their own unique opportunity to visit and take photos with Santa.
The result was incredible. Read the full story here.