Dr. Amy Lutz and Michael Rosen to Receive the 2024 Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award

New York, Feb. 1, 2024  — The Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and funding innovative autism research,  announced today that Michael Rosen of the Center for Discovery and Dr. Amy Lutz of the University of Pennsylvania will receive the 2024 Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Awards. The awards recognize outstanding research advocacy by family members of a person with autism.

The awards will be presented at ASF’s eleventh annual Day of Learning event on Thursday, April 4 in New York City.

Dr. Amy Lutz is a Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on the severely intellectually and developmentally disabled, and how this population challenges the social model of disability that is currently ascendant in both academia and advocacy. Her writing about profound autism has been featured on many platforms, including Psychology Today, The Atlantic, and Slate. She is the author of three books about profound autism; “Each Day I Like It Better: Autism, ECT, and the Treatment of Our Most Impaired Children”; “We Walk: Life with Severe Autism”; and “Chasing the Intact Mind”. Amy is a founding board member of the National Council on Severe Autism (NCSA) and is mom to Jonah, the oldest of her five kids, who is diagnosed with profound autism, bipolar disorder and epilepsy. Despite his truly debilitating challenges, including a history of aggressive and self-injurious behavior, Jonah’s utter joy in art and movement has not only inspired his family, but the entire viewing audience of the documentary In a Different Key, in which he plays a starring role. 

“Amy is a force of nature. She is everywhere doing everything one can do in the autism advocacy community: teaching, researching, and writing”, said ASF President Alison Singer. “She is a fierce advocate and her heroic efforts have changed the conversation and the landscape for people with profound autism and their families”.

Michael Rosen is Executive Vice President of Development, Marketing and Strategic Communications at the Center for Discovery (TCFD) in New York. Michael is a multiple Emmy and Peabody award winner with decades of experience in network news at ABC, CNN and CBS, where he was the Executive Producer of the Saturday Early Show and CBS This Morning: Saturday. He left television news to join Autism Speaks, where he was Executive VP, Strategic Communications. At Autism Speaks, he developed a comprehensive communications strategy around research advocacy. Prior to joining TCFD in 2019, Michael was Chief Communications Officer at The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. His son, Nicky, is non verbal and has profound autism. Nicky has a twin sister Carrie and older sister Molly. Despite his challenges, he exhibits enormous joy in family time, meal discussions, car trips and cleaning every table in his immediate vicinity.

The Center for Discovery is a nonprofit provider of comprehensive healthcare services for 1,200 children and adults with complex conditions, medical frailties, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Center offers innovative educational, medical, clinical, residential, nutritional, creative arts, and recreational experiences designed to enrich individuals’ lives. CFD is also home to the Research Institute for Brain and Body Health and the Children’s Specialty Hospital.

“At the Center for Discovery and in all his work in the autism community, Michael is laser-focused on building strong, research-driven communities that improve and enhance the lives of people with profound autism. His energy, expertise and compassion are an inspiration to all the families and scientists fortunate enough to know and work with him,” said Singer.  

The Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award is presented annually to family advocates whose energy and commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals with autism best emulate Caryn’s. Caryn was a loving and dedicated mom and a tireless advocate who worked with the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), Autism Speaks and the Autism Science Foundation to raise money, advance autism research and improve the lives of children around the country.

The Caryn Schwartzman Spirit Award will be presented by Caryn’s daughter Allyson Schwartzman Hoffman. The Day of Learning on April 4TH will feature TED-style talks by the nation’s top autism experts.

Register for this year’s Day of Learning here.

About the Autism Science Foundation
The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting autism research. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation or to make a donation, visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org.