I was absolutely delighted when Anna Kennedy asked me to be one of her Charity Champion’s for Essex . Autism is something extremely close to my heart, having a young son, Harrison who is Autistic and also has Global Development Delay. Prior to me having my son, I worked in a mainstream primary school as a one to one LSA for boys with developmental disabilities. I found this work so personally rewarding of how patience and understanding can so contribute towards someone’s life and how you can help them view it.
Since Harrison was diagnosed in July 2013, I have seen how autism is not highlighted enough in Essex and how so many families I have met through ASD groups in Essex have been left in the dark with either what to do next, or most commonly, “what is Autism”. I want to give something back to help the Autism community, so volunteering for AKO certainly fulfils that role for me.
Working as a Charity Champion I feel I am able to now help AKO with raising money for their charity for all of the important projects etc that Anna and the team are involved in as well as helping to promote autism awareness to so many schools and clubs. With my friendships with special needs charities in Essex, I would also love to arrange for Anna and Austin to speak at their Centre’s to help families understand that to have a child with Autism is a gift and one to embrace and be proud of.
 
Nicki Rodriguez