Dylan is pictured with his wife, Lauren Sonnek.
Hendron Lone Oak Elementary special education teacher Dylan Sonnek has earned the Autism Community Award from local nonprofit group Families on the Spectrum.
Families on the Spectrum presented Sonnek with the award at the group’s annual Autism Isn’t Black and White Gala fundraiser May 11. Since 2013, Families on the Spectrum has provided family outings, support groups and resources for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“I feel humbled and extremely honored to receive an award voted on by the community for the work I do with students who have Autism,” Sonnek said.
Sonnek added that he feels the award isn’t his alone, and wanted to recognize the instructional assistants at HLOE for the work they do together as a team, including Shannon Caudle, Sarah Faubion, Hannah Kinser, LeAnn Walker, and Teresa Wheat.
“They do so much for our students, and I truly feel like this award is theirs as much as it is mine,” he said.
Sonnek has known he wanted to be a special education teacher since his senior year of high school after spending time with his cousin who has Cerebral Palsy. He said seeing her unlimited potential showed him the importance of treating all students as equals, and trying to instill in students a sense of optimism.
“I truly enjoy what I do,” he said, “and I feel like being a special education teacher is not just a job or profession, but rather a calling.”