Indianapolis 45th Annual Autism Society National Conference July 26, 2014
The 2014 Dr. Temple Grandin Outstanding Literary Work of the Year Award was presented to author Lori DeMonia for her childrens book Leahs Voice.
Lori lives in the Philadelphia, PA area and works in behavioral health for Home and Community Services / Chester County Intermediate Unit. She also serves as a parent consultant with PEAC The Pennsylvania Education For All Coalition. Her articles have appeared in The Autism Spectrum Quarterly, Autism Matters, The Autism Notebook Magazine, and Spectrums. The job she is most devoted to is raising her daughter Leah, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 2.
Leahs Voice was inspired by both her daughters, the older of which has autism. Her book, Leahs Voice, touches on the confusion and challenges a younger sibling faces having an autistic sister.
Siblings may find it difficult to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when their friends arent more understanding. Leahs Voice tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.
The Autism Society presents the Dr. Temple Grandin Literary award to any item published or copyrighted within the last five years that positively affects the life of an individual or family member impacted by autism. While being a difficult subject book, It is first a superb example of good childrens literature.
Lori said on receiving the award:
I think the real winner today is the books message of inclusion and acceptance.
One of my goals when I wrote the book was to not only bring awareness to autism, but to give readers a sense of what autism looks like as well
The feature article about her award winning artwork and her familys journey was entitled Leahs World, written by her mother. Her beautiful art was incorporated into several illustrations in the book Leahs Voice, by the illustrator Monique Turchan.
The Leahs Voice website can be found here