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Summer meets the Governor

BUNDABERG’s Summer Farrelly has won a special honour, delivered by the Governor of Queensland at Government House in Brisbane this week.

Representing her town at Autism Queensland’s 2018 Creative Futures Recognition Awards on Tuesday, she and more than a dozen finalists from across the state were hosted by the Governor, the Honourable Paul de Jersey.

Governor De Jersey, who is also the Patron of Autism Queensland, was pleased to award Summer the Individual Achievement Award, which recognises the initiative of individuals in the ASD space.

Summer runs the therapeutic Chickens to Love program and its accompanying Facebook page with the help of her mother, Cynthia. She said she was surprised the Governor knew about her program, and took extra care to handle herself appropriately.

“It was very, very fancy, I’ve got to say! I was nervous I was going to mess something up,” Summer said.

“When I met him, after he’d handed me the award, he spoke to me about what Chickens to Love is, and he knew…everything about it. I honestly thought he was just going to be like ‘here you go, now, what do you do?’”

The annual Awards recognise the contributions of people living with autism as well as the people who support them, with nominations coming from the community.

Summer said she felt very welcome and understood, as she met her fellow nominees – each one a strong ambassador for the ASD community.

“I normally feel concealed and alone within a group of people, but there I felt like I sort of belonged…people there understood me better than most people do,” she said.

Sippy Downs father Stuart Kruger received the Parent/Carer Award. Stuart was nominated for the award for his dedication, both personally and professionally in making a difference to others on a similar journey. As well as caring for a son on the autism spectrum, Stuart has also created and co-designed a health app for parents and therapists.

Teacher Majella Ritchie, now based in Aspley, was presented the Professional Achievement Award for her role as principal of an indigenous college in Far North Que”ensland, and her efforts in providing support for students on the spectrum and their families.

The School/Community Award was presented to Norfolk Village State School for their highly successful approach to inclusion and proactive role in supporting all students, including the 59 on the spectrum currently attending the school.

The Residents of Forest Oak Drive in Upper Coomera were presented the Patronage Award for their fundraising efforts in 2016 and 2017 which saw them raise over $60,000 for Autism Queensland through their very popular annual Candy Cane Lane Christmas lights display.

For more information, visit Autism Queensland’s website here.

About the author

IWC's major focus is to improve and support Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and the vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the Bundaberg and Wide Bay / Burnett.

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