Meet the change makers

Autism Speaks unveils new Champions of Change!

What does it mean to be fearless?  While the dictionary defines fearless as being free of fear and brave, here at Autism Speaks, it’s our community of self-advocates, parents, siblings and friends that have become synonymous with the word.  

This World Autism Month, Autism Speaks pledges to fearlessly stand for a world where autistic people are recognized and have the opportunities they deserve. Standing alongside us are five remarkable people hailing from diverse backgrounds across the nation, to be messengers, advocates, allies and advisors for our organization. Introducing our Champions of Change! 

Each of these Champions of Change have one thing in common; a deep connection to autism and a willingness to fearlessly speak out on behalf of their community. We are honored to call these advocates friends and are excited to support them on this monumental journey. 

Meet our Champions of Change

Alex Astrella's headshot for Autism Speaks Champion of Change

Alex Astrella  

Alex is a self-advocate, filmmaker and all-around superhero from Los Angeles, CA. With a master's degree in special education, Alex is pulling from his own life experiences to give back to the autism community through storytelling and filmmaking. 


Alyssa Chapman's headshot for Autism Speaks Champion of Change

Alyssa Chapman 

Alyssa is an advocate who is fighting for inclusive communities and completing a degree in Regional and Urban Planning in their home of Saskatchewan, Canada. Their commitment to inclusivity is inspiring positive change within the autism community and beyond. 


Victoria Handy's headshot for Autism Speaks Champion of Change

Victoria Handy 

Victoria, a powerhouse mom from Jackson, MS, is not only an advocate for herself but also for her autistic daughter. Armed with degrees in psychology and behavior analysis, Victoria is working tirelessly to support autistic children and their families. 


Tyler Haynes' headshot for Autism Speaks Champion of Change

Tyler Haynes  

Tyler is a young man from St. Louis, MO, who is proving that anything is possible with a strong support system. A recent graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis SUCCEED Program, Tyler’s determination and perseverance made all the difference for his college experience. 


Tonya Haynes' headshot for Autism Speaks Champion of Change

Tonya Haynes  

Tonya is a professor of nursing from St. Louis, MO, and proud mom to her son, Tyler. Ever since Tyler’s diagnosis, she has been on mission to better understand autism and ensure her son reaches his full potential. 


Logan Slaughter's headshot for Autism Speaks Champion of Change

Logan Slaughter  

Logan, a self-advocate from Harrison, AR, is using his talents to spread the message of autism acceptance far and wide. In his upcoming children's book, he is aiming to teach others that autism is a superpower. 

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