The annual awards recognise and celebrate people, services and schools helping to create a society that works for autistic people and their families. There are 33 finalists across 11 award categories covering education, health, social care, employment, and volunteering.
They were shortlisted by an independent panel of autism specialists, who were looking for innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 7 March 2019 in Birmingham after the first day of the National Autistic Society’s 10th anniversary Autism Professionals Conference.
By celebrating the achievements of the finalists and eventual winners, the charity hopes to increase public understanding of autism and inspire other people and organisations to make a difference too.
One of the most important categories is Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum. This year’s finalists are: Alis Rowe, founder of the Curly Hair Project; Chris Bonnello, a writer, tutor and international speaker who runs Autistic, not weird; and Nathaniel Hawley, a successful business leader, social entrepreneur & trustee of multiple charities.
There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK. Being autistic means someone sees, hears and feels in a different, often more intense way to other people, which can make the world a very overwhelming place.
Every autistic person is different and some people also have a learning disability, mental health problems or other conditions. With understanding and tailored support, autistic people can live full and rewarding lives – whether in education, work or living as independently as possible.
Carol Povey, Director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said:
“We run the Autism Professionals Awards each year to recognise and celebrate the people, projects and organisations doing amazing things for autistic children, adults, or their families.
“All the finalists should be commended for impressing the judges and standing out among so many excellent nominations.
“By celebrating their achievements, we hope to improve public understanding of autism and inspire other people and organisations to make a difference too.”
The full list of finalists are:
Awards for individuals
Most Inspirational Volunteer, sponsored by Room to Reward
- Elaine Nicholson
- Jessica Tandy
- Ryan Bardsley
Achievement by an Individual Education Professional
- Lynda Evans
- Jonathan Baron
- Julie Dalton
Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum
- Alis Rowe
- Chris Bonnello
- Nathaniel Hawley
Outstanding Healthcare and/or Social Care Professional
- Dr Gloria Dura-Vila
- Sally Fitzpatrick
- Sue Hatton
Awards for teams
Inspirational Education Provision – Primary Schools and Early Years
- Linn Preschool Assessment and Development Centre Staff Team
- Little Learners
- St Anthony’s
Inspirational Education Provision – Higher and Further Education and other education providers
- Joseph Paxton Campus
- The Holmewood Sixth Form
Outstanding Adult or Children’s Services
- Founders House Service
- The Inclusion Project Area Managers
- Wigan Adult Autism Partnership Board
Outstanding Health Services, sponsored by Axia
- Sleep Tight Trafford
- The Northdale Centre
- Trust-wide autism project team
Innovative Family Support
- Clifford Chance LLP and the National Autistic Society
- Trinity School, Rochester
Most Supportive Employer
- Autism Exchange with the Civil Service
- P&G Neuro Diversity Team
- Waitrose High Wycombe
Most Creative Community Project
- Act for Autism
- Books in the Nick
- Community Rail Lancashire
Find out more about autism, the Autism Professionals Awards and the Professionals Conference by visiting: www.autism.org.uk/professionals