Each year, the Alabama Autism Conference awards the CARES Award. CARES stands for Commitment to Autism Research, Education, and Service. We accept nominations for an individual who shows dedication and commitment to Autism research, Autism education, or Autism service. We also recognize an organization that meets these criteria.

CARES Award information and nomination form for the 2025 event will be available soon.

Past CARES Award Recipients

> 2022


Individual Recipient – Justin C. Schwartz, M.D., Associate Professor, UAB School of Medicine

Headshot of Justin C. Schwartz


Organization Recipient – Alabama Department of Mental Health

Alabama Department of Mental Health Logo

> 2021

Individual Recipient – In Memoriam: Fred J. Biasini, Ph.D., Professor, UAB Department of Psychology, Director, UAB LEND and UCEDD

Fred J. Biasini Headshot


Organization Recipient – The Learning Tree, Inc.

The Learning Tree Logo

> 2020

Individual Recipient – Anna McConnell, LICSW, MPH, State Autism Coordinator, Alabama Department of Mental Health


Organization Recipient – Linda Nolen Learning Center

Linda Nolen Learning Center Logo

> 2019

Individual Recipient- Angela B. Barber, PhD, CCC-SLP, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communicative Disorders, The University of Alabama

Angela B. Barber Headshot


Organization Recipient- Lee County Autism Resource & Advocacy

Lee County Autism Resource & Advocacy Logo

> 2018

Individual Recipient- Sarah Ryan, PhD, Psychologist, UA-ACTS Program Director Administrative Director of Autism Services, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, The University of Alabama

Sarah Ryan Headshot


Organization Recipient- Autism Society of Alabama

Autism Society of Alabama Logo

> 2017

Individual Recipient- Hanes Swingle, MD, University of South Alabama, Developmental-Behavioral Clinic

Hanes Swingle Lecturing


Organization Recipient- Project Outreach Gulf Coast

> 2016

Individual Recipient – Sandy Naramore, Mitchell’s Place


Organization Recipient – Arts ‘n Autism

> 2015

Individual Recipient- Joe Carter, Glenwood Inc.


Organization Recipient- Triumph, Lead Service Provider for individuals with ASD

Triumph Logo

> 2014

Individual Recipient- Bill Pearson

Bill Pearson Headshot


> 2013

Individual Recipients- Rick and Suzanne Dowling

Rick and Suzanne Dowling Sitting on Couch with Son


> 2012

Individual Recipient- Carl Nowell, Leader in Disability Rehabilitation

Carl Nowell Headshot

> 2011

Individual Recipient- Bama Hager


> 2010

Individual Recipient- Cam Ward, Autism Task Force of Alabama

Cam Ward Headshot

> 2009

Individual Recipients- Laura and Mark Klinger, Leading Autism Researchers

Laura and Mark Klinger Headshot

> 2008

Individual Recipient- Rebecca Dossett, Dossett Clinic for People with Autism

> 2007

Individual Recipient- Phillip Young, Parent and Autism Advocate

Phillip Young Headshot