The community spirit has been absolutely infectious, says Leonora Gregory-Collura, International Naturally Autistic People (INAP) awards convention festival organizer.
Meeting with local businesses, community clubs, organizations and local area residents, it is clear that welcoming and supporting autistic people and their families on the Sunshine Coast is something everyone is looking forward to during the awards convention and festival slated for Oct. 1 to 6.
"Everyone we meet acknowledges the need to reframe our understanding of autistic people and celebrate what they have to offer our communities locally and internationally," said Gregory-Collura. "By extension, as the world works to better understand and redefine the meaning of disability in the 21st century, experience teaches us that marginalizing any segment of our society adversely affects not only those we choose to push away but also our society as a whole."
Since the official kick-off for the International Naturally Autistic People Awards Convention and Festival on April 2, World Autism Day, monthly activities and events have garnered a building of momentum in the community that celebrates talents and honours the diversity that exists in all communities around the world.
"The monthly live entertainment events, meet-up groups and local speaking engagements are quickly catching on," added INAPA vice-president Charlie Collura. Official spokespersons Duane Burnett and Janet Panic attend every event sharing their experience of past awards, convention and festival, demonstrating that collaboration is the key to success. Partnerships between non-profit and for-profit businesses are increasing as we work together to discover new and creative ways to affect positive change in the community.
Since the event in 2012, INAP award recipients have been acknowledged by local leaders and embraced by their local communities, meeting with their mayors, Lord Provost and other elected government officials including consulates in countries from England, Scotland, Romania, the U.S. and Australia. Everyone is collaborating to deliver the same message - autistic people are everywhere, in all our communities around the world and represent an opportunity for humanity to take another step toward accepting the natural diversity that exists among our human population.
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