The winners of the fourth annual Autism Professionals Awards have been announced at a special ceremony at Telford International Centre. The top accolade, the Lifetime Achievement Award, went to Professor Sir Michael Rutter for his outstanding contribution to research in autism.
The National Autistic Society (NAS) event, sponsored by Axcis Education Recruitment, was hosted by comedian Janey Godley and Janet Corcoran, a parent of an autistic adult and trustee of the charity. They handed out 13 awards to individuals and teams doing innovative work in the field of autism and having a positive impact on autistic people and their families in the UK.
There were 217 nominations for this year’s awards, which were whittled down to 37 finalists and 13 winners by an independent panel of 11 autism experts who judged each on their innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability.
Another big winner Jonathan Andrews, was awarded outstanding achievement by an individual on the autism spectrum, for his work raising awareness of autism and of the benefits autistic people can bring to the workplace. In the education categories, Woodhouse Primary Academy in Birmingham and the Cherrywood Centre of Benfield School in Newcastle won the awards for Inspirational Education Provision (primary and secondary).
Carol Povey, Director of The National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said:
“This year’s awards were the biggest yet, with a record 217 nominations showing the range of amazing work going on across the UK to improve the lives of people on the autism spectrum and their families. All the finalists did remarkably well to stand out in this highly competitive field and should be commended.
“I’m always struck by the huge impact that knowledgeable and understanding individuals and services can have on autistic people and their families. This is true of each and every one of the award finalists and winners. I hope their achievements will inspire other professionals and services to improve their own autism practice.”
The winners are:
The Axcis award for Achievement by an Individual Education Professional
- Luke Beardon, Sheffield Hallam University
Lifetime Achievement Award
- Professor Sir Michael Rutter
Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum
- Jonathan Andrews
Award for Most Inspirational Volunteer
- Glyn Morris
Award for Inspirational Education Provision: Primary Schools
- Rainbow Room – Woodhouse Primary Academy
Award for Inspirational Education Provision: Secondary Schools
- Team Cherrywood – The Cherrywood Centre
Award for Inspirational Education Provision – Other
- NAS Marketing team, My World campaign
Award for Outstanding Adult Services
- Autism Centre of Employment, University of Portsmouth
Award for Outstanding Health Services
- Open 2 Autism Team East Cheshire NHS Trust
Award for outstanding family support
- Exchange Chambers – NAS pro bono team
Award for Most Creative Community Project
- Surf School – NAS Moray and Nairn Branch
Most Supportive Employer
- Autism Oxford
Autism Accreditation Excellence Award
- Greenside School
For more information about the winners and the awards, visit: www.autismprofessionalsawards.org.uk