My name is Dylan, I am 16 years old and live in Coventry. I was diagnosed with Autism at 2 and a half years old and chose not to speak until I was 5.

At school I was bullied relentlessly and had low self esteem but found a way to express myself through performing arts. I love performing musical theatre and dance with a passion as I feel freedom and pride in what I can do.

In 2015 a family friend sent my Mum a link for Anna Kennedy online who was offering children with Autism the opportunity to audition for a scholarship at Pineapple Performing Arts School. I recorded a short video and sent it in.

On the day I found out I had won the scholarship I cried because it was like a dream come true. I started at Pineapple in September 2015 and have never looked back. I have been given the opportunity to perform at venues all over London – London Landmarks, The Ideal Home Exhibition and The Apple store in Covent Garden to name but a few and of course at Autism’s Got Talent at the Mermaid Theatre.

The fantastic support and encouragement shown to me by Maggie Patterson (Pineapple Principal), the staff and all the Tutors means so much to me. They have made me part of their Pineapple family and given me a purpose, sense of belonging and something to really be proud of.

Thanks to Anna Kennedy for changing my life, I look forward to going to Pineapple every Sunday, it really is my happy place.