Autism Hero Awards: A win for SNJ!

Those of you on Facebook or Twitter may have spotted a few of these pictures but for those of you who haven't heard, I'm delighted to tell you that I was the (very surprised) winner of the People's Autism Hero Award at the Autism Awards hosted by Anna Kennedy Online.

I don't want to go on about it too much, other than to say I'm really honoured to have been chosen by the judges and very grateful to Mala Thapar, an autism advocate herself, for nominating me for something I would never have considered putting myself forward for.

It was a lovely evening with performances by Big Brovaz, Pineapple Performing Arts and a talented young man with Asperger's, Keegan Reilander, who sang and played guitar and who may well have a bright future ahead of him. Thank you so vey much to Anna Kennedy for this and for all the amazing work she does for people with autism.

I'd like particularly to say a public thank you to my husband, Marco. Without him, it wouldn't be possible for me to do SNJ at all. I'd also like to say thank you to Giorgio (Son2) for coming, even when he really would rather have stayed home, and to Luca (son1) for leaping up and taking photos without being asked and to all three for making my life worth living through all the difficulties.

A final thanks to everyone who volunteers for SNJ, especially my co-directors, Barney and Renata (who would have been there too but her son Dominic continues to be very unwell in GOSH, please send good thoughts) and to Angela, who shares the news stories you need to see, to our Facebook & Twitter pages as well as bringing her own counselling expertise to SNJ.

Here are a few pictures from the event and it's so nice to have some good news to bring you.

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Tania Tirraoro

Founder, CEO at Special Needs Jungle
Founder of Special Needs Jungle. Parent of two young adults with autism. Tania is a member of the Whole School SEND Expert Reference Group for SEND Leadership, the Ofsted SEND Inspections Stakeholders Group, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Royal Holloway, University of London Centre of Gene and Cell Therapy.
She is also an experienced broadcast and print journalist & author. Tania also runs a PR, web & social media consultancy, SocialOro Media. She is a Rare Disease & chronic pain patient advocate with Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
Tania Tirraoro
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So very well deserved Tania – and you might try and hide behind the Special Needs Jungle team (who are also fab of course) but I think we all know that you are the driving force, who has done so much for so many families with autism. You are definitely one of my heroes, and I’m so glad you were recognised like this! x

Thanks Steph – that’s so kind. I do really want to give SNJ a future though, and one that I may not be involved on such a close level, so it’s important to me to try to make it a shared enterprise going forward. As ever, you’re always welcome to write for us too!xxx