Lara Stanton Schaeffer: Empowering Autistic Adults and Bridging Cultural Divides

Changemakersaathi: Global leaders and Changemakers

Lara Stanton Schaeffer: Empowering Autistic Adults and Bridging Cultural Divides

In the realm of global leaders and changemakers, one name that shines brightly is Lara Stanton Schaeffer. With a background in education and a personal journey intertwined with autism, Lara has emerged as a transformative force. Through her organization Autism Discovery and her second venture, finetunENG, she is revolutionizing the way we understand autism and language barriers, providing support and empowerment to individuals worldwide.

Lara is the Founder – Autism Discovery, offering both Guided Self-Assessment for autism and mentoring for autistic adults.
She is a Certified PEERS Social Skills Practitioner for adolescents and young adults
Autism Advocate, actively publishing and public speaking to raise education and awareness surrounding autism
She is a Co-facilitator of Bridges International Support Group for Autistic Adults, a free weekly group open to all autistic adults
Founder, English Language Specialty Services (finetunENG), helping international students and professionals fine-tune their spoken and written English
Developer, finetunENG On Your Own, a subscription service for guided English pronunciation improvement
Master’s in Education from Harvard University with 28 years high school English teaching experience.

Lara’s journey in her own words in an exclusive interview with Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

Unveiling the Autism Discovery:

Lara’s remarkable journey began when her own daughter received a late diagnosis of autism. Seeking clarity about her own experiences, Lara sought an evaluation and received her own autism diagnosis in her forties. This life-altering revelation prompted her to take action, leading her to establish Autism Discovery just two years later.

At Autism Discovery, Lara has pioneered a unique process of guided self-assessment for adults. Recognizing the long waiting lists and high costs associated with formal evaluations, she aimed to provide an affordable and accessible alternative. By leveraging her own experiences and expertise, Lara assists adults in understanding and embracing their autism, fostering self-awareness, and unlocking their full potential.

Mentoring Autistic Adults:

As a mentor, Lara supports autistic adults on their journey to live their best lives within a predominantly non-autistic society. She comprehends the unique challenges and hurdles faced by individuals on the autism spectrum and offers invaluable guidance, ensuring they are equipped to handle these challenges with resilience and confidence. Through her mentoring programs, Lara empowers autistic adults, encouraging self-advocacy and fostering a sense of belonging in a world that often fails to understand their unique perspectives.

Driving Social and Interpersonal Growth:

Lara’s commitment to making a difference extends beyond autism discovery and mentoring. As a Certified PEERS program provider, she helps autistic teenagers and young adults enhance their social and interpersonal skills. Recognizing the importance of connections and relationships in one’s personal and professional life, Lara facilitates a supportive environment where individuals on the autism spectrum can thrive and develop meaningful connections.

Bridging Linguistic Divides with finetunENG:

Lara’s passion for teaching and empowering others led her to create finetunENG, a groundbreaking initiative focused on helping international students and professionals improve their English proficiency. She understands the barriers that language can create, hindering personal growth and professional success. By equipping individuals with enhanced language skills, Lara opens doors to new opportunities and enables them to reach new heights in their careers.

Overcoming Personal Challenges:

Lara’s personal journey has not been without its obstacles. Despite a successful 28-year career as a high school teacher in prestigious American private schools, Lara faced adversity when the administrators at her school did not want the students to be aware of her autism diagnosis. After three years of trying and waiting, Lara took a brave step and left her teaching position, refusing to accept the lack of understanding and the need to compromise her identity.

Global Changemaker

Lara Stanton Schaeffer stands as a beacon of hope and change in the global community. Through her organizations, Autism Discovery and finetunENG, she champions the rights and potential of autistic adults while also bridging cultural divides through language empowerment. Lara’s commitment to transforming lives, fostering acceptance, and driving social change serves as an inspiration to all. As a visionary leader and compassionate advocate, Lara Stanton Schaeffer’s contributions resonate far and wide, leaving an indelible mark on our society and paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future.

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi

By Shilpi Mayank Awasthi


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