Daniel Docherty and I spoke in Cork over the weekend to a conference of 500 people about Autism’s Got Talent, the performing arts and the charities anti-bullying campaign ‘Give Us a Break!’. Sean Kennedy legal advisor to the charity spoke about reasonable adjustments that can be made in schools.
Daniel is diagnosed on the autism spectrum condition. Daniel is 19 years old and lives in the southeast of Ireland. Daniel shares: ‘I am the Ireland Ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online, an incredible Organisation that strives to improve the lives of those living with autism.
‘My dream is to become a famous singer and autism awareness advocate. I study psychology at Waterford Institute of Technology and have completed my first year, passing all of my exams. I have a keen interest in story writing and poetry too. I was diagnosed with autism in March 2014 at the age of 14 and it was a moment of relief for me as I always knew deep down I was quite an eccentric individual compared to other people. One of my special interests is in music, in particular singing.
‘I love singing as it has always been a way for me to deal with my anxiety and stress. It is also one of the ways in which I express myself and my favourite genres to do this are opera, classical, musical theatre and swing. I hope to also one day make a real change in the world for the better and promote a society of acceptance and support.’
Daniel said: ‘Becoming an ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online in Ireland means the world to me. I was really surprised when I was asked to join the AKO team and jumped at the chance to be a part of this incredible organisation. Having autism has meant my journey to where I am now has been no easy ride, but it has taught me a lot about myself and has allowed me to relate to others on the spectrum as we see the world in different ways than neurotypical people.
‘Being an ambassador now enables me to interact with more people on the spectrum and together this means we can change the world. We can transcend boundaries and unify people in order to create an accepting and supportive society for those with neurodiversities such as autism.’
Dr Anna Kennedy OBE is an educator who has worked to provide improved education and other facilities for children with autism spectrum disorders.