Autism Queensland Creative Futures 2015 Winners Announced
Autism Queensland has announced the winners of the 2015 Creative Futures Recognition Awards, an annual, Queensland-wide search to recognise the contributions of people living with autism as well as the parents, carers schools and businesses who support them.
The Governor of Queensland and Autism Queensland Patron, the Hon Paul de Jersey AC presented the awards at a morning tea held at Government House, Brisbane on Thursday, 3 December, to coincide with the International Day of People with Disability.
Now in its ninth year, the Creative Futures awards highlights the services and supports that are essential to addressing the complex problems associated with a diagnosis of autism, a lifelong disability which requires varying levels of intervention and support throughout a person’s life.
Awards were presented across six categories.
Mackay artist Nekea Blagoev received the Individual Achievement Award for her ability to overcome challenges and provide inspiration to all who meet her. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when she was 28 years old, Nekea Blagoev was non-verbal, communicating only through her artwork.
Today she is an internet radio host having worked diligently on her speech since her diagnosis. She has hosted sell out exhibitions, sold her limited edition prints to collectors in Australia and overseas, had her art published in top selling books and magazines and received a scholarship with Arts Queensland.
Alexandra Hills dad Dion Merrin received the Parent / Carer Award for his dedication to his son Kobe. In 2013 Dion quit his job to care for Kobe, teaching his son to speak and learn new skills with the aim to give him the best chance at life.
Special Education Program (SEP) teacher at Kallangur State School, Kirsten Harpley received the Professional Achievement Award. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in her first year of teaching, Kirsten has made it her mission to help children on the spectrum achieve their potential.
Bracken Ridge State School was recognised with the School Community Award for consistently providing excellence in educating children with ASD within an inclusive, nurturing and safe environment.
Logistics Company UPS earned the Business Partnership Award in recogntion of their support of Autism Queensland’s Studio G Post School Transition Program for young people with high functioning autism. A grant presented to the organisation in 2014 has established the pilot as a permanent program and given participants access to subsidised fees.
The Patronage Award was awarded to Malanda mother Tammy Spires, for her staunch support of Autism Queensland’s annual Go Blue for Autism fundraising and awareness campaign since its inception in 2012.
Full details of the 2015 Creative Futures Recognition Awards winners and Special Commendation winners are available here.
The 2105 Creative Futures Recognition Awards winners with His Excellency the Hon Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland (centre).
(Front l-r): Nekea Blagoev, Steve Tippett (UPS), Kirsten Harpley, Ben Laws (Bracken Ridge StateSchool) Tammy Spires, Dion Merrin. Back (l-r) Barry Dennien (Chair, Autism Queensland), Rod Cameron (CEO, Autism Queensland).