2016 Positive Role Model Award for Disability
Diagnosed with Autism at two and a half years of age, Aston did not speak until the age of 6, and spent the majority of his childhood in hospital for a serious bowel condition; which was later diagnosed as enterocolitis. Aston also suﬀers from anaphylaxis and was diagnosed with pica where he digests weird and wonderful objects. After ﬁnding his love for dance, Aston went on to receive a national diploma in performing arts and achieved ISTD grades in Dance and Drama. He now assists in teaching younger autistic children the art of dance, and volunteers at a local radio station where he presents his own show. This remarkable individual is also a local DJ and has raised in excess of £20,000 for numerous charities. Aston received a scholarship at Pineapple Performing Arts and was awarded the Pride of Essex 2012 and the Princess Diana Award in 2015 for volunteering.
We caught up with Aston Avery and dawn Avery, after he won the Positive Role Model Award for Disability at The National Diversity Awards 2016. Here is what they said…
How did you feel about the other shortlisted nominees within your category?
Aston: To be shortlisted alongside all the other people in my category was an absolute honour! They were all winners in their own right and so it was a great honour to be in a room with them.
Dawn: Looking at the shortlisted nominees within Astons category it highlighted the honour bestowed that he was part of this category. In our eyes every single nominee was a winner.
After winning the award, what is your next step?
Aston: I’ll carry on what I’m doing, even the charity work. Helping the Anna Kennedy Online charity which I’m an ambassador for and continue with the work I’m doing.
Dawn: We aim to assist Aston in his conquest to raise awareness and acceptance of his condition. He may require assistance on a daily basis but his true grit determination and his enthusiasm to make a difference will continue.
How is the work you are doing within the strand of Disability, making a difference?
Aston: It’s made a huge difference! To be fair, I didn’t expect to get the award on the night, I thought someone else would get it! I hope the work I’m doing can inspire other people to overcome the barriers they face and allow them to believe that they can do anything they put their mind to.
Dawn: Aston continues to promote that he is autistic and he is proud of this, his annual fundraising event for autistic & proud is this Saturday 8th of October which is a sell-out event and the support from his family and friends enables him to high light that just because you have autism it does not mean you cannot achieve, his dream has been to high light what an autistic person can do and not what they can’t.
Why do you think it is important to highlight Diversity, Equality and Inclusion?
Aston: Inclusion is everything, even with the disability side of things, it’s important that nobody is treated unfairly. It’s important to have all strands celebrated and recognised because we are different and we all need to be treated equally.
Dawn: All aspects of inclusion and equality should be highlighted; we live in a world where positives can out rule negatives if channelled in the correct format, acceptance of who we are is important in society. Events such as the NDA provide an important platform to recognise all those involved in promoting this.
Why do you think it is important to family and friends?
Aston: Well my social media went a bit crazy to be honest! My parents came to the awards night, and my dad was tearing. I’ve had phone calls left, right and centre. Facebook and Twitter were going mental! It’s been amazing!
Dawn: The most important thing is for everyone to have hope, Astons social media was so active over the NDA because not just family and friends but friends of friends who have anyone on the autistic spectrum recognised the hope for the future. This was apparent when my own social media was so active with messages of questions on how we dealt with certain aspects of Astons conditions. As a mother I was asked questions on not just how Aston coped but how as a family we coped. The importance of hope when often only the negatives are recognised is important to all and anyone involved in a disability.
Who or what is your inspiration?
Aston: That’s a very good question actually! There are quite a few to be honest but I can’t name any names as it would be like me a lifetime! Everything I’ve achieved so far was because I’ve wanted to do it and I’ve done it off my own back, but I couldn’t have done it without many people’s support and encouragement.
Dawn: Aston has been lucky enough to have been assisted by amazing Drs and professionals between all walks of his life. We still keep in touch with previous nurses and carers and he is still under the same surgeon from his early years, their belief in him has for sure been part of his inspiration. His brother Aaron has played affording him the honour of being his best man at his forth coming wedding April. a huge part in supporting Aston too. He has been blessed by being surrounded by special needs friends as he has grown and their determination we feel is also behind Astons enthusiasm to succeed.
What were your thoughts on the awards? Did you enjoy the night?
Aston: The evening went down very well! My mum said it was like the BAFTA’s! It went so well and I was honoured to be a part of the night. I even got the chance to go to the after party for a bit which was really good fun!
Dawn: The BAFTAs of Diversity for sure. The venue was amazing and upon our arrival we felt an immediate feeling of humbleness. It was apparent the event had been articulated to the last piece of cutlery set on the white linen tables. The sense of grandeur really added to the feeling WOW our son has accomplished so much to have been invited to an event as this.