Autism awards see vital work rewarded

Award winners with presenter Jane Asher at the Autism Professional Awards 2015, held at Harrogate's Royal Hall. Picture: A John Furlong
Award winners with presenter Jane Asher at the Autism Professional Awards 2015, held at Harrogate's Royal Hall. Picture: A John Furlong

Ecstatic winners at the third annual Autism Professionals Awards have been rewarded for their vital work in a ceremony at the Royal Hall.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) event this week was hosted by the charity’s president Jane Asher and its chief executive Mark Lever who handed out awards to services, professionals, and volunteers leading the way in innovative autism practice.

The winners were awarded after making a real difference to the lives of people living with autism in the UK.

There were 191 nominations for this year’s awards, which were chiselled down to a shortlist of 38 and finally 15 winners by a panel of 10 autism experts. The nominees were judged on their innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability.

Carol Povey, director of the NAS Centre for Autism, said: “Autism is a specialist field which attracts many talented and dedicated individuals so it takes something extraordinary to stand out, especially when we receive a record number of nominations.

“I hope the accomplishments of the winners and finalists inspire other professionals and services to continue their efforts to improve the lives of people with autism.

“Autism can have a profound effect on individuals and families but, as shown by the finalists’ achievements, the right support can make all the difference and help them live the fullest life possible.”

The night’s biggest accolade, the Lifetime Achievement Award, went to autism consultant Jim Taylor.

PRIZE WINNERS

The Axcis Award for Achievement by an Individual Education Professional: Jacky Wyatt; Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim Taylor; Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum: Julia Maklin MBE and Robyn Steward; Most Inspirational Volunteer: Kate Laine-Toner; Inspirational Education Provision – Primary Schools: The Inclusion Team at Tollgate Primary School in Newham; Inspirational Education Provision – Secondary Schools & Over 16: Autisan Creative Enterprises; Inspirational Education Provision – Other Education Provider: Suffolk County Council’s County Inclusive Resource; Outstanding Adult Services: Wirral Autistic Society’s Community Health and Wellbeing Team; Clinical Excellence: The SEQOL Adult Autism Diagnostic Service; Innovative Family Support: tied between Bernardo’s Cygnet Service and Sunderland’s Autism Outreach Team; Best New Technological Innovation sponsored by Network Autism: Circus Starr’s Show and Tell; Most Creative Community Project: Scottish Autism’s Gartinny Conservation Project; Autism Accreditation Excellence Award: Knowsley Adult Disability Service.