Gay Tompkins Honored By Thompson Foundation For Autism

Gay Tompkins and Bill Thompson, founder of the Thompson Center for Autism. (click for larger version)
05/28/2010 - The Thompson Foundation for Autism recognized former Affton School District superintendent and autism advocate Gay Tompkins with the Foundation's Distinguished Service Award.

The award was presented at the foundation's recent annual "It's in the Cards" Dinner Gala and Auction held at the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.

The event raised nearly $500,000 to support the efforts of the Thompson Foundation for Autism in addition to two local partners of the event -- Howard Park Center in Ellisville and the St. John's Mercy Child Development Center in Creve Coeur.

Tompkins, who now lives with her husband, Rick, in High Ridge, is the second recipient of the Thompson Foundation for Autism's Distinguished Service Award.

Tompkins is a life-long educator and a passionate advocate for trying to improve the lives of children with autism. Several years ago, Tompkins proposed the concept of creating a state-wide panel to improve services and awareness for autism throughout Missouri. She has been a driving force in developing the Missouri-specific guidelines for screening, Diagnosis and Assessment of autism through the Missouri Autism Guideline Initiative (MAGI).

Tompkins' ability to coordinate and collaborate with the agencies of the state provided funding for this landmark effort. In 2009, representing the Thompson Foundation, Tompkins worked with Autism Speaks to organize the fourth annual National Autism Legal Summit in St. Louis. She continues to work with leaders throughout the state in support of recently passed legislation which will provide insurance coverage for autism treatment in Missouri.

"Dr. Tompkins has an admirable spirit of service and caring for others," said William S. Thompson, founder of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "Her service both as an educator and as a tireless advocate for improving the lives of children with autism has been phenomenal."

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