Langdale’s Leonora Gregory-Collura, creator of Naturally Autistic ANCA, will receive a B.C. Community Achievement Award next week for her work to give autism a voice in British Columbia.
“She has created unique programs and an annual awards’ event and festival that showcases collaborations with the mainstream and autistic communities,” a press release from the province stated.
Gregory-Collura is one of 35 recipients of the provincially-funded award.
“The community achievement awards honour individuals who have made a significant contribution either as volunteers or in the course of their work,” said Keith Mitchell, chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation.
The foundation was established and endowed by the province to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise and community service.
Gregory-Collura was surprised and excited to find out she had won an achievement award.
“I’m extremely honoured. When you look at the people over the years who have received awards, especially of this calibre, it feels good after one’s put a lot of work out there into the community,” she said. “I don’t do it to get an award, but I feel like I’ve been recognized and that’s quite an achievement.”
Gregory-Collura found she had a knack for understanding and supporting autistic children over 30 years ago, while teaching dance and theatre to struggling students.
Once diagnosed as autistic herself, she realized autistic people have a different way of processing information and she set out to educate others.
She created Naturally Autistic ANCA, a consultation company to support the natural development of autistic people by providing education and training to autistic individuals, their families and the community, which is ANCA’s mission statement.
ANCA focuses on how the autistic mind processes information or what ANCA terms “the autistic paradigm — from the inside out — a mental/cognitive processing map that is unique and distinct to all autistic people.”
Through workshops, training programs, online articles, a magazine and speaking engagements, Gregory-Collura has now spread the ANCA message to thousands across North America.
She’s driven by a desire to help autistic children and their families grow and develop together naturally.
In addition to her consultation company, Gregory-Collura also runs the non-profit ANCA foundation, which puts on an annual awards ceremony for autistic people.
Nominations for those awards are open until March 15. If you would like to nominate someone, visit Gregory-Collura’s website at www.naturallyautistic.com.
The achievement award winner will be honoured at an awards ceremony in Victoria on March 14.