The Autism Society of North Carolina has named Clary Lamberton of Asheville as the 2015 winner of the John and Claudia Roman Direct Service Award. The annual award honors a direct service employee of the Autism Society of North Carolina who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to individuals with autism and their families. Lamberton is a residential instructor in ASNC’s supported living home, Marlowe Place. She has worked for ASNC for more than 5 years.
“The families who nominated Clary said she not only found very personal ways and meaningful ways to connect to the individuals she serves, but was very conscientious and intentional about facilitating their connections with their community and strengthening their bonds with their families,” said Kari Johnston, ASNC Director of Services. “The importance of ensuring that individuals who are no longer living with their families are given opportunities to maintain and enhance those relationships as adults cannot be emphasized enough.”
In their nomination, Katie and Lewis Wills of Asheville wrote that Lamberton calls or emails them often to share stories of their son’s life. “Jesse is nonverbal and unable to tell us about his daily life,” they said. “Recently, she taught our son how to make an apple tart, bringing a smile to his face; she took photos to share with us so that we could enjoy the experience, too.”
The other families agreed with the Willses, calling the communications about their sons heartwarming, important, and comforting. They said Lamberton also goes above and beyond her duties in other ways, such as taking the residents of Marlowe for special outings in the community, including the WNC Run/Walk for Autism.
“She is relentless in her genuine, caring commitment to providing a truly wonderful home for the men of Marlowe where they are respected and given the tools to be as independent as they can be,” wrote the Willses.
Christine Reagan wrote that Lamberton “exudes calmness, even when there is chaos in my son’s life. Her calm approach has been so valuable in helping my son self-regulate.”
“In addition, Clary’s goal has always been for my son to have a voice (even though he is minimally verbal). She encourages him to make choices and to feel accomplishment,” Reagan said.
Lamberton received a cash award of $1,000. The John and Claudia Roman Direct Service Award was endowed by Lori and Gregg Ireland to honor Christine Roman, the direct service professional who worked with their son, Vinnie. It was named for her parents, John and Claudia Roman.
Past winners of the John and Claudia Roman Direct Service Award:
2007 – Felicia McLean, Fayetteville
2008 – Samantha Erway, Asheville
2009 – Amanda Freeland, Fayetteville
2010 – Emily Bennett, Asheville
2011 – Lori Sweeney, Asheville
2012 – Tanya Ahner-Mejia, Greensboro
2013 – Alan Cohen, Raleigh
2014 – Melissa Mulcahey, AshevilleTags: ASNC, autism, autism nc, autism society north carolina, autism society of NC, Autism Society of North Carolina, direct service professional, Marlowe Place, Roman Award