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Calls to Action

Liz Feld Announces New Scholarship at the Nantucket Kickoff

Thanks Bob for the introduction, guidance and support. The work we do day in and day out at the Autism Speaks offices all over the country is really driven by two things: by the families Suzanne spoke so eloquently about…. And by the rest of the autism world. Think of it—there is a whole world that has been created to treat, care for and educate those with autism from the time they are toddlers to adulthood. Tonight – I just want to focus on the teachers. If you’ve ever spent any significant amount of time with a family affected by autism, you know – every moment of every hour is unpredictable at best. Every day can feel like a test of your strength. Your patience. Your will. And so- let’s now think about people who choose out of their own free will – while they are in college, and the world is in front of them- to enter into special education. And --then add another layer of special education -- for autism. The only possible explanation is that they are angels. Angels- who see potential where the rest of the world may not… Angels who have more patience and love than can possibly be measured. One of those angels was Anne Marie Murphy. She was a special education teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. That horrific day last December, she lost her life trying to shield Dylan Hockley, a 6-year old boy with autism who she taught and treated as her own. Two of Ann Marie’s four children-- daughters Colleen and Paige, her husband Mike, and parents-- Hugh and Alice McGowan are with us this evening. Let’s show them our appreciation for all she did. In honor of Anne Marie and her devotion -- for which there are no real words… we at Autism Speaks are extremely proud to providing funding for autism programs and services in the Newtown area. It is our goal to support and educate the advancement of these children in her name. We would like the impact of the programs and services to mirror the profound influence - Anne Marie had on so many children on the spectrum throughout her life.