On May 20, Austism Movement Therapy, Inc will present Temple Grandin & Friends, a celebrity-packed evening at Club Nokia that will benefit Autism Works Now, a nonprofit pilot program whose mission is to bridge the gap between community and job opportunities for individuals with autism and related differences.
Among the celebrities are Ed Asner, along with his son Matthew who will be honored for their consistent efforts to help those with autism, American Idol alum James Durbin who was diagnosed with Tourette and Asperger syndromes at age nine, and Joe Montegna, who has portrayed David Rossi on Criminal Minds since 2007.
Montegna’s connection with the cause is also very personal. His daughter Mia was diagnosed with autism in 1990 at the age of 2 1/2. He says this is such an important event because it addresses adults with autism as opposed to many benefits that are geared towards children.
“So much is generated towards children, which is appropriate and right,” Montegna said. “But one thing I’ve discovered now having a daughter who is 28-year-old with autism is all that stuff you did when they were kids and all the organizations you belonged to and the marathons you walked that were all for ‘Let’s help the kids,’ and ‘Let’s worry about the kids,’ are great and we have to have that. But when you stop and think about it, you’re a kid from 0 to 18, legally, and these people are adults for four times that amount of time. So it’s that thing of, ‘Okay, it’s great, we helped the children, but now what?’ And in some instances you do something in that childhood stage that makes a drastic change, but mostly as they become adults, it’s ‘Now what?’”
This program, Montegna said, addresses the majority time of the life span.
“The most dire need,” Montegna said. “When the caregivers aren’t going to be there.”
Montegna’s daughter Mia, the first autistic graduate of the MUD (Make-Up Designory in Burbank) will also be at the celebration.
“My wife deserves a lot of the credit,” Montegna said. “She would never say, ‘No you can’t do it.’”
Montegna will speak at the event as well as Temple Grandin, an advocate who was also diagnosed with autism at age two, who is known as someone who has changed the face of autism.
The event is on Wednesday, May 20 at Club Nokia, 800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles from 8 -10 p.m. Doors open at 6:45. VIP meet and greet with Grandin and Durbin, plus art show from 7 p.m.-7:45 p.m.
Tickets: $22.49 – $154.50
For more information: www.templegrandinandfriends.com
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