Dr. Grandin did not talk until she was three and a half years old. She was fortunate to get early speech therapy. Her teachers also taught her how to wait and take turns when playing board games. She was mainstreamed into a normal kindergarten at age five. Oliver Sacks wrote in the forward of Thinking in Pictures that her first book Emergence: Labeled Autistic was “unprecedented because there had never before been an inside narrative of autism.” Dr. Sacks profiled Dr. Grandin in his bestselling book Anthropologist on Mars.
Dr. Grandin became a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and a BBC Special – "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow". She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.
When she was young, she was considered weird and teased and bullied in high school. The only place she had friends was activities where there was a shared interest such as horses, electronics, or model rockets. Mr. Carlock, her science teacher, was an important mentor who encouraged her interest in science. When she had a new goal of becoming a scientist, she had a reason for studying. Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed.
Billy Frist is a principal and partner of Frist Capital, an investment group that seeks various public and private investments, adhering to a patient, and long-term value-oriented approach. Billy serves on the Board of Directors of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). He is a trustee on several nonprofits including Currey Ingram Academy, a school for those with learning differences, the Arts and Business Council, Leadership Nashville and the Frist Foundation. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Frist Art Museum.
Billy graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree followed by a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University.
The Autism Science Foundation’s mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. ASF adheres to rigorous scientific standards and values. We at ASF believe that outstanding research is the greatest gift we can offer our families. Every research dollar counts.
The award will be accepted by Alison Singer, President and Dr. Alycia Halladay, Chief Science Officer.
Michael Enzi is the senior U.S. Senator from the state of Wyoming, a position he has held since 1997. Senator Enzi chairs the Senate Budget Committee and is also a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Prior to his election to Congress, Sen. Enzi served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1987–1991 and the Wyoming Senate from 1991–1997. From 1975-1982, Enzi served as the Mayor of Gillette, Wyoming and previously served as a staff sergeant in the Wyoming Air National Guard. Senator Enzi received his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and his MBA from the University of Denver.
As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Enzi has worked with his colleagues on legislation to ensure that there are effective programs in place to meet the needs of people with autism and their families. He was Chairman of the HELP Committee and a co-sponsor of the Combating Autism Act of 2006 – the first law passed by Congress that uniquely focused on autism. Sen. Enzi was also a lead sponsor of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act in 2011 and the next reauthorization of the law, named the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act.
Robert P Casey, Jr. is the senior U.S. Senator for the state of Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 2007. Senator Casey is the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and serves on the Senate Finance Committee; the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee He is the ranking member of the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families.
Prior to serving in the U.S. Senate, Senator Casey was Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer from 2005-2007 and Pennsylvania Auditor General from 1997-2005. Prior to holding public office, Sen. Casey taught fifth grade in Philadelphia and practiced law in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Senator Casey earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, and his J.D. from Catholic University’s School of Law.
Senator Casey is a dedicated advocate for families touched by autism. He has championed legislation to further autism research and to recognize April as National Autism Awareness Month. He sponsored the Autism Spectrum Disorder Semipostal Stamp Act of 2012 that would have authorized the U.S. Postal Service to create a special semipostal stamp for funding autism research and family support programs. Additionally, he has advocated for the inclusion of behavioral health care needs of people with autism spectrum disorders in the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Sen. Casey was the lead Senate author, along with his colleague Sen. Burr of North Carolina, of the ABLE act, that makes it possible for people with disabilities acquired prior to their 26th birthday to save up to $100,000 for disability related expenses without risking loss of their Federal disability benefits. The ABLE Act was passed in 2014. He is currently working, with Sen. Burr, to extend the benefits of ABLE accounts to those who acquire their disability prior to 46 years of age. Most recently, the Autism Society of America has announced support for two bills Casey has sponsored, the Disability Employment Incentive Act of 2018 and the Office of Disability Policy Act of 2018, saying “these bills will advance the mission of the Autism Society to improve the quality of lives of all impacted by autism.”