About Connie & Harvey

Connie Lapin  

For over 45 years Connie has been an internationally known lecturer and consumer/legislative advocate for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her work has involved testifying before governmental bodies and lecturing at universities and conferences. She was designated as an autism representative by California’s Department of Developmental services as a member of a stakeholder advisory committee and subsequently a budget advisory group to deal with one of the worst budget deficits California has experienced. In 2013, California Human Services Secretary Diana S. Dooley established a Task Force on the future of State Development Centers. Connie was appointed as a family community member. The charge of the Task Force was to advise the Administration on the development of a master plan for the future of the DCs. In July 2014, Secretary Dooley reconvened the Task Force which will be charged for examining services for the developmentally disabled in the community. The Developmental Services Task Force has been formed and Connie serves as a Community Family Member. She was also invited to participate in the implementation of the new federal regulations by serving on the Home and Community – Based Services (HCBS Advisory Group). The advisory group will analyze issues, identify steps, and processes, and develop policy recommendations involved with implementing federal home and community based settings requirements. Connie also is a member of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Quality Assessment Advisory Group.

Years ago, she was the first autism representative in California when the Regional Center System recognized autism as a developmental disability. During her presidency at Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (now known as Disabilities Rights of California), the first state developmental disability de-institutionalization lawsuit was filed in California. In 1977, Connie was included in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Advocacy and Research: A Parent’s Perspective.

Connie has provided consultation and appeared on numerous national and local television shows, including Oprah, where she objected to the use of shock as treatment for people with autism, defending their civil rights. She chaired The Stallone Fund for Autism Research. She has been invited to attend the “United Nations World Focus on Autism” celebrations in New York. In 2009 Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield selected Connie as “Woman of the Year” for his district for significantly contributing to the community. She has received an inspiration award from Vista del Mar and was honored at the White House by first lady, Nancy Reagan. Senator Pro Temp Darryl Steinberg honored her for lifetime achievement and meritorious service for Autism. She was included in the 2013 Jewish Journal as one of the 10 extraordinary volunteers in their “Mensch List”. Lapin earned her B.A. from The University of Michigan in Speech Pathology. She and her husband are currently in the process of writing a book. As current co-chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Autism Society of Los Angeles, Connie helped lead the successful effort in California to enact Self Determination legislation that was signed in October 2013 by Governor Brown. The only law of its kind in the country! For more information on Self Determination, please see the Policy and Legislation section.

They have donated their personal collection of historical information on Autism and DD to the archives of the California State University, Northridge. The library catalog and the Online Archive of California: http://findingaids.csun.edu/archon/?p=collections/controlcard&id=373

Harvey A Lapin D.D.S.  

Dr. Lapin has been a significant leader and strong advocate for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Disabilities for over 45 years. He has promoted disability awareness in lectures and publications and has authored and published articles. He has served as president of most organizations he becomes involved with including The Autism Society of America, California’s Developmental Disability Area Board X and Client Rights Advocacy for Disability Rights of California. He was one of the founding fathers of Jay Nolan Community Services as well as past president. Harvey was a founder and organizer of the first U.S. Autism Telethon-”Save Autistic Children” from 1977-1984. In 1976, Harvey contributed a chapter on family issues and needs in the book: AUTISM, Diagnosis, Current Research and Management, edited by Dr. Edward R. Ritvo.

Currently he is working in partnership with California State University of Northridge to promote lifetime autism services. He has recently been honored by The California State Senate for lifetime achievement and meritorious service for autism. He also received awards from Vista Del Mar Agency, Autism Society of America, The California State Developmental Disability Council, Disability Rights of California, Association of Regional Center Agencies for superior accomplishments for people with autism and developmental disabilities, and most recently was included in the Jewish Journal as one of the 10 extraordinary volunteers in their “Mensch List”. He has been honored at The White House twice by President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Nancy Reagan. He is a dentist and lives by the belief that “Justice delayed is Justice Denied”. He and his wife Connie are currently in the process of writing a book. They have donated their personal collection of historical informational on Autism and DD to the archives of the California State University, Northridge. The library catalog and the Online Archive of California: http://findingaids.csun.edu/archon/?p=collections/controlcard&id=373

In December 2012, Harvey approached California State Senator Bill Emmerson to introduce Self Determination Legislation for individuals with developmental disabilities. For many years Dr. Lapin felt this is one of the great options for positive systems change. Governor Brown signed the bill in October 2013 and it is the first self determination law in the nation. It went into effect January 2014. Harvey serves on the state task force of the implementation of this new law.

About Our Children and Our Son with Autism

Connie and Harvey are the proud parents of their three sons. Brad, their oldest, has chosen to specialize in autism and works in the field. He is especially interested in implementing self determination for individuals with disabilities. Erik, a former member of the US Aerialist Ski Team and is now a practicing attorney with JAG, Judge Advocate General Corps-U.S.Army. In June 2014, Erik married Hailey Kessler in St. Louis and they now reside in Washington State. Shawn, their now 47 year old son with severe autism, lives in his own home with the support of Jay Nolan Community Services. Shawn has been involved with various business ventures, including a “hot dog stand” and a “messenger service.” He is our hero and very brave, considering all he has endured. Connie believes that as Elie Weisel states “the opposite of love is not hate but indifference.” She believes we can all make a significant difference -not only in the lives of our children but others as well.

Connie and Shawn protesting budget cuts

Connie and Shawn protesting budget cuts

Lapin brothers celebrating Hannukah 2000

Lapin brothers celebrating Hannukah 2000

Shawn and Brad - having fun

Shawn and Brad

Shawn and Erik

Erik and Shawn

Shawn and Brad

Shawn and Brad at Shawn’s Bar Mitzvah

Shawn's hot dog stand

Shawn’s hot dog stand

Erik receiving a bronze star in Afghanistan

Erik receiving a bronze star in Afghanistan

Hailey and Erik

Hailey and Erik