Hormel Historic Home hires local autism advocate as a liaison

Published 7:37 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mary Barinka, a local autism advocate and the parent of a child with autism, has been hired by the Hormel Historic Home Autism Team to further awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The role was created to serve as the liaison between agencies that provide services for those on the spectrum and those who need services.

Mary Barinka

Barinka will work with the service and business sector to ensure that those who need understanding or accommodation are recognized as valuable consumers or employees.

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As a parent, she has been actively involved in her daughter’s journey with autism. She has advocated for her own child and has helped many others in learning how to navigate the complex path of health and education needs.

In 2009, she was instrumental in helping to launch the ASD summer camps hosted by the Hormel Historic Home. That same year, she presented at the Autism Society of Minnesota Conference, speaking about creative visual strategies that support people with autism.

In 2013, she launched the Peer Power Partners program which connects typically developing youth with those with disabilities aiming to create understanding and advocacy among young people.

Barinka serves on the Parenting Resource Center Parent Warm line and she has been active in developing the Autism Friendly Austin initiative for the community.

With a degree in business administration and a passion for driving change, Mary will be an asset to the Hormel Historic Home Autism Team and to the entire community, said a news release from the organization.