2020 LaVonnya Gardner Award for Autism Acceptance & Advocacy
The Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake is seeking nominations for the 2020 LaVonnya Gardner Award for Autism Acceptance & Advocacy. This award honors the legacy of LaVonnya Gardner, an autistic* woman who was also legally deaf, blind, and the single mother of a beautiful autistic daughter. She dedicated her life to educating the public about the joys and challenges of being autistic; wanting and working wholeheartedly to change the perception of disability. She was unapologetic in her interactions with the world at large and in her desire to create acceptance and understanding. LaVonnya was an inspiring force and through her writings and videos, she touched the lives of many parents, children and adult self-advocates. She was passionate about using technology to aid in communication and was always sharing how she was navigating the world using her iPad and other devices. She was fearless and persistent in her pursuit of an enviable life for herself and her autistic daughter, Brianna, who was the light of her life.

In bestowing this award, the Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake wishes to honor an autistic individual who is living their life the way LaVonnya Gardner lived hers. She embraced her uniqueness with a "Who gives a hamburger!" attitude that was infectious and she was determined to make a difference.

*Like many autistic adults, LaVonnya preferred identity first language and used the word "autistic" to describe herself and her daughter. LaVonnya wrote, "I, like most Autistic people, say I am an Autistic as opposed to person with Autism. If you say "person with," you separate the person from the autism. You can no more separate the Autism from the person than you can separate a person from their blue eyes."

THE 2020 AWARD WILL BE GIVEN ON 3/28/20 AT HONESTLY AUTISM DAY! http://www.baltimoreautismsociety.org/calendar-of-events/educationseminars/

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Deadline to submit a nomination is 2/28/2020.
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LaVonnya Gardner
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