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Winners of the 2014 Temple Grandin Awards

by Dawn Grosvenor

Future Horizons proudly announces the Temple Grandin Award winners for 2014! Congratulations to these wonderful individuals and thank you to all who participated. Learn more about each winner and his or her unique achievements below!


Temple Grandin Award Winners 2014


Benjamin Tarasewicz is a 19-year-old high school student who has gone from being completely non-verbal with obsessions to a verbal and exceptionally social person. He gives educational presentations titled “Living with Autism” accompanied by a 28-slide power-point show.


Triin Kuddo is a 27-year-old who has just earned her Master’s Degree in Process and Environmental Systems Engineering. She has idolized Temple Grandin since she was 12 years old. When Triin discovered Thinking in Pictures, she found someone who shared her ways and she no longer felt alone.


Alis Rowe is a 25 year old in the UK with Asperger's Syndrome. She has created the social enterprise, the curly hair project, in order to improve communication between women with ASD and their neurotypical loved ones. She is the author of several books and an award winning social entrepreneur. Alis has a degree and masters in chemistry. Her books can be purchased on


Jonathan Murphy is a 28-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome who grew up with all of the struggles of isolation, bullying and social anxieties and he now has the confidence to earn a living as a performer. He is proud to be a writer of Geek Club Books as well as the creator of a storybook app based on his experiences with Asperger's and bullying.


Kade Vilbig is a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who is in the process of earning a Bachelor of Nursing at Idaho State University. He heads ISU’s Inclusion Club for students with disabilities. He is proud of accomplishing all of this after being told at 9 years old that he would never be able to function on a normal level.


Kevin Larson is a young man with Autism and senior in high school. He has earned a scholarship to participate in the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the US Space and Rocket Center in Alabama as well as a National Merit Semifinalist. He will attend Texas A&M next year.


Angi Shumate is a teacher who has left the public school system to start her own school specifically for kids on the autism spectrum. She has implemented a new style in reaching her students and has had wonderful results. Her impact on the community is immense.


Marie Moore is a young woman who, after being misdiagnosed as being mentally disabled, having a speech impediment, being bipolar and having ADHD, was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s two years ago. She really connected with the HBO film Temple Grandin and has made great strides in her life and within her community.


Hayden Holman is a very young man who has had many accomplishments, just in this last year.  He can dress himself, count money, order meals in restaurants, and do chores without being told.  He has also learned some French, Spanish, and German numbers, as well as colors and animals.


Elizabeth Pritchard is a 20-year-old college student with Asperger’s and she is working hard to educate others about how it has affected her life. In high school, she wrote and illustrated comic books about life with Asperger’s. She was just inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.


Cameron Bakeris a young man who has made great strides in this past year.  He volunteers at the library. He hosted a summer reading program and helped a young girl to learn to read. He is working very hard at forming friendships with his peer group and getting better each day at socializing.


Erin Johnson is a 13-year-old young girl with Asperger’s who is working on mastering personal relationships. She has been playing the violin since kindergarten and is an accomplished violinist playing in her school orchestra, The Schaumburg Youth Orchestra as well as The Schaumburg Chamber Music Orchestra.


Laurie A. Couture is a 39-year old author, consultant, speaker, mental health counselor, artist and mom. She has appeared on national TV and has had several articles published around the world. She adopted her 20-year-old son, who is also on the spectrum, when he was 11. Laurie is a passionate child advocate who, despite struggling with sensory issues and social skills, has achieved respect and admiration from families and professionals internationally. To learn more, please visit