Unsung Hero of Autism


Each year, the Beyond the Diagnosis: Autism Across the Life Span conference honors a member of the community seen as an Unsung Hero of Autism. This year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero award was Mike Wasmer. Wasmer received his award at the conference on March 3, 2017.

The award recognizes a person who is selfless in helping others and makes a difference in the life of a person with autism. Nominations are submitted for consideration. Kirsten Sneid wrote the following about Wasmer in her nomination:

“Mike Wasmer-parent of daughter with ASD was appalled at the lack of ASD services for children with autism. This “awakening” propelled him into the world of advocacy regarding access to research based treatments. Mike founded KCAL, Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation. He gathered data across the country on cost benefit studies on effective treatment and positive outcomes. He inspired thousands across the state of Kansas to reach out to their legislators and support autism legislation called Kate’s Law (named after his daughter). He travelled across the state holding legislative coffees, he was asked to serve on the Governor’s Autism Task Force and became the “go to guy” for law makers and for legislative advocates in other states. His efforts so impressed leaders at Autism Speaks that he gave up his job as a veterinarian and went to work full time as an autism advocate in government affairs. The legislation passed in Kansas was not everything Kate’s Law intended but KS legislation did happen and opened a much needed door for families to access quality diagnostic and therapeutic treatment for those we love. I nominate Mike Wasmer on behalf of the hundreds of Kansas children and future generations of children which will benefit from his efforts to end insurance discrimination in the state of Kansas!”

Past Recipients

2015 – Emily McBride

2014 – Kelly Lee, founder and executive director, Camp Encourage

2013 – Jennifer Smith, executive director, Autism Society of The Heartland

2012 – Kirsten Sneid

2011 – Becki Clary, paraprofessional, Mission Trail Elementary