A gemologist by trade, Karen Simmons is the mother of six children, one with autism and one with ADHD. An unexpected diagnosis of autism in her two-year old son, threw Karen into an unknown world without a clue, in search of information and support to deal with the special needs of a child with autism. The journey was far from easy. Determined to find solutions to further her son’s development she delved relentlessly into the mysterious terrain of autism, accumulating knowledge, insight and information about the unusual world of people with autism. Her experience as a mother of a child with autism inspired Karen to found the Keen Education Foundation in 1996. Their mission is to provide key education for kids with special needs through equipment, therapy, services and education. They seek to help special needs children to their fullest possible individual development and to find social inclusion.
Since her son’s diagnosis, she has devoted her life to helping him and others with autism achieve as much independence as they can. She recognized the need to create an exceptional resource to assist families struggling to find easy and affordable autism answers. As a result she founded Autism Today, the first online information and resource center in the late 90’s. As CEO of Autism Today, Karen hosts classes, resources and expertise to parents, educators, doctors, therapists and individuals serving the autism spectrum and special needs communities. In addition to Autism Today, Karen hosts Canada’s Keys To The Treasure Chest conferences on autism and Aspergers and The KEEN Education Foundation which strives to fund educational resources for families with exceptional needs. Karen, also known as “The Autism Lady”is the author of widely acclaimed titles including “Little Rainman,” “The Autism Experience,” “Surrounded By Miracles,” “The Official Autism 101 Manual,” “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs” with Jack Canfield, Autism Tomorrow, plus hundreds of DVD’s with world renowned autism experts. Grammy award winner, Temple Grandin endorses “Little Rainman” as the best book out there to show new parents to recognize early signs of autism. Karen has been featured in top international and local media.