Mayo receives highest Peruvian humanitarian award

Mayo receives highest Peruvian humanitarian award

Liliana Mayo, founder and director of the Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú, the Life Span Institute’s Peruvian a liate, was honored with a Defensoria del Pueblo (Ombudsman) award April 16 in Lima, Peru. The award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the promotion, defense and strengthening of the constitutional order, the institutionalization of democracy and the validity of human rights.

Mayo is internationally known for changing the way children with autism and other developmental disabilities are treated and educated in Peru and for creating a unique and dynamic model “School for Families” that has been replicated in several other countries. 

She was recognized by her country along with no less than the former United Nations Secretary General Javiar Pérez de Cuéllar. Pérez de Cuéllar, who recently toured CASP, now refers to Mayo as his “twin” according to Stephen Schroeder, retired LSI director and professor emeritus. A KU graduate and KU Distinguished Service Citation awardee in 2003, Mayo was also featured as the subject of the cover story in the May 2010 Kansas Alumni magazine.

This year Mayo, along with Schroeder and others, was awarded a highly competitive National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Award to undertake an unprecedented study of disability identification and early intervention in Peru (see page 8). The study hopes to find a cost-effective early preventive intervention that can be replicated widely in those countries without legal entitlements for disability.

The CASP model, which trains families to help prepare their children with intellectual disabilities to live, even work, in the larger world, is being replicated in countries including Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Spain, Ecuador and Guatemala. One hundred CASP students are employed in 33 companies. In the last two years, 10,000 parents and professionals have been trained in 22 Peruvian provinces and in ten Latin America and European countries through an innovative Internet-based distance education program.

Mayo has also been honored with Spain’s Queen Sofia Award for Rehabilitation and Integration, Peru’s Order of the Sun (in the degree of Commander) and with the Peruvian Congressional Medal of Honor in recognition of her culture-changing contribution.