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Lapin, Harvey and Connie | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Lapin, Harvey and Connie


Historical Note:

Harvey and Connie Lapin, residents of Northridge California, have three children, including an autistic son, Shawn Lapin. Shawn became the national poster child for the National Society for Autistic Children in 1973, at age 5. Over several decades they have founded or worked with various organizations promoting awareness and advocacy for the people and families affected by autism.

Harvey Lapin, a dentist, began serving on the Board of Directors of the Autism Society of Los Angeles (ASLA) in 1971. He became President of the Autism Society of America (formerly known as the National Society for Autistic Children) in 1976, and visited the White House for President Carter's signing of the Mental Health Proclamation. Lapin was the founder and organizer of the Save Autistic Children Telethon from 1977-1984. He served as President of the Board of Directors for ASLA from 1989-1992. He was one of the major founding fathers of Jay Nolan Community Services, and was elected President of its Board of Directors from 1990-1992. Dr. Lapin has been an active member of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, along with the American, California, and San Fernando Valley Dental Societies. He has promoted disability awareness in lectures and publications that have included appearances on national television and lectures at international conferences, and has authored and published several articles. His special interest lies in providing entrepreneurial advancement for adults with autism. In 2013 he initiated passage of California's first self-determination law for the developmentally disabled, the first of its kind in the country (SB 468.)

Connie Lapin, a speech pathologist, has been a member of the Board of Directors of ASLA since 1971. She has served as Chairperson of the ASLA's Legislative Committee during her entire tenure. Additionally, she was past Chairperson of the Honig Advisory Committee on Special Education; Chairperson of the Stallone Fund for Autism Research; Secretary and Board member of the North Los Angeles County Regional Center for Developmental Disabilities; Chairperson for Protection and Advocacy; a member of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps; and a member of the National Advisory Board of Research and Training Center of Non-aversive Behavior Management for the University of Oregon.

Since 1971, Connie Lapin has been an international lecturer and advocate for persons with developmental disabilities, testifying and lecturing before government bodies, colleges, and conferences. She has provided consultation to, and appeared on, numerous national and television shows. She was honored at the White House by President Ronald Reagan on the 10th anniversary of the passage of the right to education (PL 94-142), and has received awards from the National Society for Autistic Children, the North Los Angeles County Regional Center, the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, the National Society for Autistic Children & Adults, and the State Council on Developmental Disabilities.

During the Lapin's tenure with the ASLA, the organization joined five other groups in filing a lawsuit that would challenge California's conscious and chronic underfunding of its community care system in favor of institutions. The lawsuit was filed under federal anti-discrimination laws and Tittle XIX of the Federal Social Security Act.






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