Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) Recognition Awards showcasing a different brilliant®
From Yellow Ladybugs supporting women and girls, to 16 year old entrepreneurs driving successful businesses, the 2019 Aspect Recognition Awards run by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), has again provided the perfect showcase for the diverse talents and extraordinary abilities of the Australian autism community.
Over 100 people attended the evening which saw 7 awards presented to individuals, families, carers, and professionals whose efforts, skills or projects highlighted or addressed issues facing the autism community.
“The 2019 Aspect Recognition Awards aim to celebrate the incredible achievements happening within our autism community,” Aspect’s CEO, Adrian Ford, said. “Whether it’s providing inspiration, support or addressing an issue, the awards are a celebration of our diverse, creative and resilient community.
“This year we saw extraordinary people overcoming incredible personal hurdles to become advocates for themselves and for others.
“People like Clay Lewis who at just 16 years of age founded his own successful business cleaning wheelie bins, after not being able to find a part-time job for 2 years.
“Or Chloe Hayden, who was crippled by anxiety and depression because she felt excluded – until she realised that there were children and adults feeling the same way and created an online character, Princess Aspien, to advocate for those who feel excluded due to autism.”
Mr Ford went on to say that the night, which was filled with extraordinary achievements, saw a clear theme emerge around the importance of community.
“This year’s awards really highlighted the important role of small community.
Groups such as the ones highlighted at the awards, often start out as a small niche groups who recognise an unmet need - before becoming widely recognised as playing a vital role in the life of so many people.
“Our 2019 recipients - The Yellow Ladybugs, You Can Dance volunteers, and Emily Ma, who started the Chinese Parent’s Special Needs Support Network and has been running it as a volunteer for 20 years - these are extraordinary people, doing extraordinary things for their communities. They draw on the goodwill and generosity of their volunteers to support those who want to be included – and their work has an enormous impact on those it touches.
“I would like to thank them all for their amazing generosity”
Now in their 13th year, the Autism Spectrum Australia Recognition Awards celebrate extraordinary people in the autism community.
The 2019 Aspect Recognition Award recipients include:
· David Foster Appreciation Award – The volunteers for Everyone Can Dance - a not for profit registered dance charity for individuals with autism and a disability. The charity relies solely on the support of local volunteers who give up their time to support 120 students who participate in free weekly classes
· Above and Beyond Award – The Yellow Lady Bugs – an organisation dedicated to the happiness, success and celebration of autistic girls and women.
· Advancement Award – Westmead Feelings Program team – developed at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, this program has researched and developed interventions that promote emotional competence skills for young people, with scaffolding for parents, teachers and clinic professionals.
· Parent Carer of the Year Award – Emily Ma – recognising that many families in the Chinese community with a child with special needs were isolated due to cultural social stigma and their language diversity, Emily developed the Chinese Parent’s Special Needs Support Network and has been running it as a volunteer for 20 years.
· Inspiration Award for Individual Achievement (Youth) – Clay Lewis – for surpassing many personal hurdles and becoming a successful entrepreneur who is now inspiring others.
· Inspiration Award for Individual Achievement (Adult) – Chloe Hayden – who took her autism journey and turned it into a local, state, national and international spotlight for advocacy, awareness and education.
· Aspect Board Award for Exceptional Contribution to Aspect – Hilton Grugeon – for his long association and support of the Aspect Hunter School.