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Idaho Falls Student Wins Temple Grandin Award

To honor those who have made significant achievements with autism and Asperger’s, the Temple Grandin Awards are given out to 13 people throughout the world. One national winner a year is chosen with Asperger’s and one with autism.

This year’s award winner for Asperger’s is a 23-year old man from Idaho Falls, Kade Vilbig.

He’s a pre-med student at Idaho State University, holds a job and works with young kids on the spectrum. His message is to show others the diagnosis doesn’t have to hold them back.

“Been a while since we had seen each other,” said Vilbig.

Vilbig and Cara Liebe are two friends who met at work in 2012. Liebe nominated Vilbig for the award.

“He earned it, he worked hard for it. He had heard his entire life you can’t, you can’t, you can’t,” said Liebe.

“I heard that a lot, it frustrated me. I put off going to college because I didn’t think I could do it. That’s what I was told by a lot of people and I thrived there,” said Vilbig.

At 23, he’s a freshman at ISU with big goals to help others.

“I want to become a neuro-developmental disabilities pediatrician,” said Vilbig.

It may be years until he starts impacting patients’ lives, but he’s already made a big impact on a local family.

“I’m working with a little girl and her mom,” said Vilbig.

Eyewitness News and Local News 8 brought the story of Katie Overton and her eight year old daughter, Addie, who has autism in February.

“She’s going to pull through,” said Overton. She had one wish for her daughter.

“I just want to hear her voice,” said Overton.

With Vilbig’s help, her wish came true.

“After the first day, she started talking and asking for her mom by name,” said Vilbig.

Following the lead of Temple Grandin’s message, to let go of labels. Vilbig’s award is just the beginning to showcase that accomplishments with Aspergers or autism have no boundaries.

“We shouldn’t let anyone tell us what we can and can’t do. You should reach for the sky and do whatever you were meant to do,” said Vilbig.

He is working to start a program at ISU to help with the transition to higher education for autistic children.

For more about Temple Grandin and the other winners you can visit this website.

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