News from Overseas
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Meet our Overseas 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 overseas Ambassadors are so important and we are lucky enough to have two extraordinary role models. Our Ambassadors play a critical role in getting the message out there and detailed below explains why we are so proud to have these two extraordinary individuals as part of the team:
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.
Our first overseas Ambassador from the US is Dani Bowman. 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 honoured at Anna Kennedy’s “Wear It for Autism” event in London in October 2014.
Austin Riley is a Champion race car driver who lives in Lindsay Ontario Canada. Austin has been racing since the tender age of 7 and is a multi-time champion in a go-kart and he has just won his first car championship (Oct 2020), making history.
In 2012 Austin and his dad started an organization called Racing with Autism which promotes autism awareness by sharing Austin’s life story at schools and events all over the world.
Austin first met Anna at her Autism Expo at Brunel University during a speaking tour of the United Kingdom.
Since that initial meeting Anna and Austin have become big fans of each other. By Austin sharing his story, he has inspired many other children with and without disabilities to follow their dreams no matter what anyone thinks is possible.
He feels incredibly proud to be an Anna Kennedy Online Overseas Ambassador and hopes to spend more time in the UK once the world returns to normal.
Austin continues to live by his famous quote “Just because you have autism, it doesn’t mean you can’t do great things”