Anna Kennedy Online - Our Ambassadors
Meet our Ambassadors we are working with us to help raise autism awareness
We are passionate to change the perceptions on Autism raising awareness and we cannot do this alone and that is why our Ambassadors are so important and we are lucky enough to have such extraordinary role models.
Find out more about our amazing campaign ambassadors who are helping us spread the word who are passionate about helping with our mission.
Our Ambassadors play a critical role in getting the message out there and detailed below explains why we are so proud to have these extraordinary individuals as part of the team:
My name is Daniel Docherty and I have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am 19 years old and I live in the southeast of Ireland. I am the Ireland Ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online, an incredible Organisation that strives to improve the lives of those living with Autism.
My dream is to become a famous singer and Autism Awareness advocate. I study psychology in Waterford Institute of Technology and have completed my first year, passing all of my exams. I have a keen interest in story writing and poetry too. I was diagnosed with autism in March, 2014 at the age of fourteen and It was a moment of relief for me as I always knew deep down I was quite an eccentric individual compared to other people. One of my special interests is music, in particular singing.
I love singing as it has always been a way for me to deal with my anxiety and stress. It is also one of the ways in which I express myself and my favourite genres to do this are Opera, Classical, Musical Theatre and Swing. I hope to also one day make a real change in the world for the better and promote a society of acceptance and support.
Daniel said: “Becoming an Ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online in Ireland means the world to me. I was really surprised when I was asked to join the AKO team and jumped at the chance to be a part of this incredible organization. Having Autism has meant my journey to where I am now has been no easy ride, but it has taught me a lot about myself and has allowed me to relate to others on the spectrum as we see the world in different ways than neurotypical people. Being an ambassador now enables me to interact with more people on the spectrum and together this means we can change the world. We can transcend boundaries and unify people in order to create an accepting and supportive society for those with Neurodiversities such as Autism“
Aston Avery is a young man who has overcome a great deal in his young life. Aged 21, he was was diagnosed with autism at just two and a half. He also suffered from the bowel disease enterocolitis which leaves bowels and internal muscles not working and causes inflammation of the intestines.
From the age of four he spent most of his life undergoing a number of operations to fix the digestive disorder before having a full colostomy when he was eleven. On top of all of this was his autism, making communication with the world around him a challenge at best, impossible in many cases. Seven years ago he joined La Danse Fantastique Theatre School, based at Basildon’s Salvation Army hall in Cherrydown West. This turned out to be one of those life changing moments for this exceptional young man.
In time the discipline and hard work he put into his involvement with this charity began to improve his confidence and help him mix with his peers. This hard work and determination have been recognised by Anna Kennedy Online and Pineapple Performing Arts School where he has been awarded a scholarship for a second year running.
Matty Street is the 21 year old CEO of TeamKarting.co.uk The UK’s highest rated indoor karting track based in Greater Manchester. In 2017 TeamKarting were nominated for an Autism Hero Award for being a leading business being inclusive and Autism Friendly.
Matty has a huge passion for motorsport and have competed from the age of 12. In school Matty was diagnosed with dyslexia / dyspraxia and Asperger’s and finding school very difficult Matty was considered a lost cause and stereotyped as a failure. His love for Motorsport helped deal with all these labels and negative expectations and achieve academic success and now success in business. Click here for details.
Matty said “Working with the AKO team as an Ambassador Matty along with TeamKarting will host a number of events promoting autism awareness”.
Paula McGowan grew up in Liverpool and is married to Tom McGowan who is a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force. She has three children.
Following the untimely death of her youngest child Oliver, Paula has dedicated her life to campaigning for better health care for people who have autism and learning disabilities. She is passionate that all doctors and nurses should receive mandatory training in autism and learning disability awareness.
Paula has recently moved to Australia with her husband but her campaigning continues to go from strength to strength. She attends health care conferences and has done several talks about what happened to Oliver. At the 2018 Autism Hero Awards, Paula received the Special Recognition Award.
Paul has released and published 5 books on the subject of autism published by Chipmunka publishing and has contributed to other books too. Having overcome many challenges to achieve the success that he now enjoys, Paul’s message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability. He firmly believes that every Autistic person should have the opportunity to reach their potential and be regarded as a valued member of society.
Click here for more details about Paul.
Phillip Wills is an Autism Father from Truro, United Kingdom near Cornwall. Phillip Wills’ son Josh is 17 years old and has severe autism. Joshua Wills has autism so severe that he has harmed himself and needed to be institutionalized for his safety. However, there is no suitable facility close to Joshua’s family, so he had to be sent to Birmingham 260 miles away from his family (a 5 1/2 hour trip).
Phillip Wills is an Autism Light because he is advocating for the need for a treatment facility to be developed closer to Cornwall to help those with severe autism like his son Josh. Even though it would be constructed too late for Joshua to use, Phillip Wills hopes Josh’s story and his advocacy will make a difference in the lives of other autism families in the United Kingdom who may face similar challenges in the future.
Phillip Wills has created several autism awareness videos about his son Joshua that are all posted on his YouTube channel. Here is one of the videos that Phillip Wills developed about his son Josh’s journey in 2012.
Our first overseas Ambassador from the US is Dani Bowman age 21. Dani founded her company, DaniMation Entertainment, at age 11. She has worked professionally in the animation industry since 14. Bow has premiered 6 award-wining animated short films at San Diego Comic-Con each year for the past 5 years. Dani utilizes her six passions of Autism Advocacy, Public Speaking, Animation, Illustration, Fine and Visual Arts, and Teaching Animation to show young adults on the spectrum and with other disabilities that anything is possible and inspire them to leverage their unique ability.
Since age 15, Dani has led summer animation camps around the country, initially with Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films, and then expanding out on her own to teach to over 700 teens and young adults. Dani not only teaches animation, but also works with her students as a role model and mentor, encouraging them to follow their dreams. Her contributions to the autism community have been widely acknowledged from receiving the Temple Grandin Award from Future Horizons in 2012 to being the first American with Autism honored at Anna Kennedy’s “Wear It for Autism” event in London in October 2014.
Siena Castellon is a 16 year old neurodiversity advocate and anti-bullying campaigner. She is autistic, dyslexic and dyspraxic. She also has ADHD. Siena is passionate about changing negative perceptions and stereotypes about autistic people and people with learning differences.
When Siena was 13 year old, she created a website – www.QLMentoring.com – to mentor and support autistic students and students with learning differences. She created the website, because she found that all the online resources were aimed at parents. There are currently 40 schools participating, which amounts to over 35,000 students across the United Kingdom. Siena is currently writing a survival guide for autistic teen girls, which will be published in 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishing. Siena has won numerous awards for her neurodiversity advocacy and website, including the 2018 BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Award and the Diana Award.
In 2018, she was also bestowed with a British Citizen Youth Award, received a Points of Light Award from Prime Minister Theresa May and met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a private reception in their home at Kensington Palace.
Macauley Elvin now 20 years old has experienced all of the above and turned to music to help him get through his ordeal. Macauley was one of the charities Autism’s got Talent performers where for the last 7 years’ children and adults from across the UK and overseas have showcased their talent on stage in Central London, North East, Essex and next year in Liverpool. Many performers of which were bullied and like Macauley turned to the performing arts to help them get through their ordeal.
Macauley’s singing has led to him and his family to meet lots of people and make new friends. He now enjoys performing and supporting charity events. Macauley has written a song with his mum called ‘Hollow and has been working alongside Anna Kennedy OBE a leading autism Campaigner ‘ to help her Autism Charity to raise further awareness ‘Give us a Break’ Anti Bullying campaign.
With a career in the spotlight which began in 2000, 33-year-old Danielle Lloyd has been a household name since she shot to fame after being crowned Miss England in 2004 and Miss Great Britain in 2006. In 2012, Danielle married her now ex-husband Jamie, and they had three beautiful sons, Archie, Harry and George. Being a mum is what Danielle is most proud of and nothing is more important to her than her amazing boys.
Danielle’s TV career has ranged from shows such as The Weakest Link, Total Wipeout and Who’s Doing The Dishes, all of which she won – to learning new skills in TV’s ‘Splash’ with Tom Daley in 2014. She regularly appears on the front cover of leading magazines like Fabulous, OK, Now, New, Closer and Reveal.
Danielle said: ‘I’m extremely proud to be an ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online; their outstanding work impressed me so much that doing charity work with them for people with autism is a real privilege. This is a cause that is close to my heart with my own children, and I’ve seen first hand how those with autism have been directly helped by Anna and the team’s work.’
Terry Scott is the AKO official photographer who is a loyal and trustworthy gentleman, he captures every moment and makes these into memories. Without Terry, we could not showcase our success.