The Aspect Recognition Awards night was planned for Thursday, 2 April at the Radisson Blu in Sydney and is always an emotional and inspiring event. Unfortunately, due to the current circumstances, we have postponed the event until later in the year and we will advise of a new date when we can. In the meantime, we're excited and proud to celebrate the achievements of the community and introduce you to all 2020 recipients...
Above and Beyond Award
Tammy Anderson is the principal of a school in Western Sydney based on Dharawal country. Tammy is a proud Aboriginal woman of the Biripi people and has championed the inclusion of young people on the autism spectrum in their local school and community.
Tammy encourages her staff to go to families and into the community, to listen, learn, build relationships and work with families in a culturally responsive way. Tammy was involved in the first national pilot of a model that brings school staff together, alongside Aboriginal families to plan together to work on a plan that places the young person involved at the centre. This strengthened home, school and community partnership has led to big improvements for the students on the autism spectrum and helped them to reach their potential. Tammy balances her work with her school and community alongside her husband as their raise their son who is also on the autism spectrum.
David Foster Appreciation Award
Keeley is an inspirational young lady. She was diagnosed autistic around the age of 5 and as having an intellectual disability around the age of 12. Having to find a way to invest in electronic hardware for her own education, Keeley created Keeley’s Cause to provide iPads to children of low income families diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, or as having an intellectual disability, to help them effectively communicate and engage in their education.
Keeley has over the last 20 months raised over $60,000 through fundraising, sausage sizzles, donations, iPad sponsors and merchandise sales and has presented 99 iPads across Australia, to recipients in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA. Keeley's Cause also provides inclusion through free of charge events, to bring awareness to the general community about autism and intellectual diabilities. She was nominated by her local Lions Club who she has been volunteering for over the past 5 years.
Amazing work Keeley!
Westpac Tailored Talent Program
Westpac’s unique program offers autistic job seekers a 12-month contract with the objective of permanent role placement. Once hired through tailored assessments,, the interns are assigned a business leader mentor and offered support and inclusion activities, such as Lunch and Learns.
Seven of the 2018 participants have secured on-going employment with Westpac through the program and 100% of the participants reported positive changes to their lives as a result of the program. With extraordinary satisfaction rates among participants and business leaders, Westpac has committed in 2020 to increasing their recruitment of neurodiverse talent.
Thank you Westpac!
Inspiration Award for Individual Achievement (adult)
Ruby is a proud and active member of both the autistic and the LGBTQIA+ communities. Their work is often focused on supporting other people who exist on this intersection. An example of this is Ruby’s work with Thorne Harbour Health, where they facilitate a project team for disabled LGBTQIA+ people. The goal of this team is two-fold: (1) to build the capacity of the participants in their own lives, and (2) to collectively use new knowledge to develop resources for others within the community. Ruby has strong leadership qualities, sincere compassion, and the ability to motivate autistic people, who wouldn’t usually consider themselves to be “joiners”.
Thank you Ruby!
Inspiration Award for Individual Achievement (youth)
Hamish is a 15yo app developer and social impact entrepreneur. He developed his first app 'Litterbugsmash' to save ocean life from litter when he was just 10! Hamish’s subsequent apps draw on his lived experience with autism to promote strategies to assist people with autism (ASD and Me) and to teach people of all ages and abilities in a safe virtual reality environment how to navigate transport (Transport Pathways). Overall, Hamish has created six apps which have been downloaded tens of thousands of times across 54 different countries.
Hamish has received numerous technology, entrepreneurial, environment and civic awards/grants for his work and has been featured on local, national and international media. He shows us that living with autism is no barrier to making a positive change in the world for yourself and others.
Well deserved Hamish!
Parent/Carer of the Year Award
Travis Saunders is the father of an amazing 10-year old autistic boy, Patch. Together with his partner Fiona, he is presenting and producing The Parenting Spectrum, an ABC podcast about autism and family life which amplifies autistic voices.
Travis left behind teaching to focus on caring for his son in 2011 and established a successful business working as an educational consultant, professional speaker and mentor to young autistic people with complex needs. Travis has also produced and developed content about autism for organisations such as the ABC, NSW Department of Education and Link Disability magazine and appeared in the media more than 100 times talking about autism, education and family life.
Natasha is an amazingly brave, caring and a dedicated mum to her three beautiful children, who are all on the autism spectrum. Natasha is a survivor of family violence, courageously stepping away from her ex, to raise her children Max (17), Beyonce (14) and Cedric (11) by herself. Natasha started a Facebook page ‘MBC Autism’ which inspires and encourages other parents who have children on the spectrum, and despite the many financial, emotional and practical challenges she has had to face, she somehow manages to maintain a positive attitude towards life.
Well done Natasha!
Board Award for Exceptional Contribution to Aspect
The Goodridge Foundation
The Aspect Board ‘Award for Exceptional Contribution to Aspect’ is for services to Aspect that are truly outstanding and show exceptional dedication to Aspect and our values. This award is not judged – it is recommended by the Aspect Board, and this is only the second time that it has been awarded.
The Aspect Board made the unanimous decision this year to give the 'Award for Exceptional Contribution to Aspect' to the Goodridge Foundation for its extraordinary financial gift to Aspect and specifically to the new Aspect South East Sydney School campus in Loftus (opening in 2020). The contribution will have an immeasurable impact on the lives of Aspect children and their families now and into the future.
A big thank you and congratulations to the Goodridge Foundation!
Congratulations again to all nominees and recipients of the 2020 Aspect Recognition Awards and a huge thank you to all the people who took the time to nominate unsung heroes in our community!