High school student hopes to inspire others with autism

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published:

Hudson -- A high school student hopes inspire fellow students and community members to apply for the same award he won earlier this year.

Sean Giannetti, 20, received the Temple Grandin Award in April. The award, named after Dr. Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age and is a speaker and author on the subject, recognizes the accomplishments of people with autism and Asperger's syndrome.

Sean is considered within the autism scale and was diagnosed about six years ago, according to his mother, Paige Giannetti.

Sean was nominated by his sister, Devyn, a Hudson High School junior, based on three accomplishments: Sean sang at the 2010 HHS graduation, played the character of "Linus" in the Young Actors Studio production of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," and placed second at the Ohio Special Olympics swimming meet.

"Having grown up with Sean, I have seen him go through many struggles and accomplishments," Devyn said. "I know that he is very organized when it comes to his specific interests, and when he gets a liking for something, he puts his whole heart into it. People who meet him for the first time relate with him and realize how warmhearted he is."

In the nomination letter, Devyn noted the support her brother has received from the teachers and the community.

"These are great examples of having people in the Hudson community both embrace people with special needs and help them contribute to and grow in the community -- a very positive experience for Sean," Devyn wrote.

Sean said he was "happy, surprised and shocked" when he learned he won the award,

"Sean was very excited," Paige said. "We framed the award letter, the check and the nomination to hang in the house."

Sean said he swims a 25-meter race and likes to sing Broadway show tunes, including selections from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King," he said.

The award is given to two individuals, one with autism and one with Asperger's syndrome, who have made a major accomplishment in the past year, although any accomplishment is worthy of nomination and every nominee is a winner, according to Paige.

Sean said the award is easy to apply for, and anyone with autism and Asperger's syndrome should apply.

Sean suggests those who want to apply should use accomplishments in things they are interested in.

"Kids like Sean can do really great if you focus on their individual strengths and what they enjoy doing," Paige said. "There is a lot of positive support for kids with special needs in the Hudson community and within the school district."

Paige suggests parents "always look for positive opportunities for your kids that also help them build their self esteem."

Nominations for the 2012 award are due Dec. 13 and should be no more than two pages in length, with accompanying pictures, exhibits, and other relevant information.

Nominations can be emailed to Future Horizons, Inc. 721 W. Abram St., Arlington, TX 76013, or by calling 1- 800-489-0727.

"Preparing the nomination does not take much time and can be done by anyone who knows the nominee," Paige said.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

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