Leading individuals living with learning disabilities and/or autism have been awarded in the Dimensions Learning Disability and Autism Leaders List 2018.
From pressing for change in local communities or on a national stage, to achievements in sport, arts, entertainment, work and education, the 60 winners are breaking through stereotypes and challenging social attitudes.
A panel of 14 judges, including people with learning disabilities and autism, journalists and prominent figures selected the winners from nearly 600 nominees.
Steve Scown, Chief Executive Officer of Dimensions, who selected the Young Leader and Lifetime Achievement awards, said, 'Choosing winners was inspiring, humbling and incredibly difficult. I hope that policymakers, journalists and others now take note and make use of their remarkable skills and determination to achieve change.
'Just 6% of people with learning disabilities, and 16% of people with autism, are in work. People with learning disabilities die over 20 years before their non-learning disabled counterparts. Three quarters of people with autism and learning disabilities experience hate crime.
'And yet, across the country, people with learning disabilities and autism are advocating to make life better by changing national policy and practice and entrenched social attitudes. They are spokespeople, lobbyists, experts by experience. They are actors and singers. They are film makers, receptionists, DJs. The List celebrates their achievements, larger and smaller alike, understanding that nominees may face significant barriers due to their disability.'
Welcoming the Learning Disability and Autism Leaders List, Sarah Newton MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work said, 'The list celebrates the extraordinary achievements of people with learning disabilities and autism, offering role models to inspire our future leaders. It is also an opportunity for the media to accelerate change and break down unnecessary barriers and stigma.'
The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders List – created by not-for-profit support provider Dimensions in association with Learning Disability England and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group – is the first listing to celebrate the dedicated, selfless work of 60 of these individuals.
The winners and their stories can be viewed on the Dimensions website.