Jordan Fernando 

An autistic teenager from Ardrossan in Ayrshire has been shortlisted for our prestigious Autism Professionals Awards.

Jordan Fernando (19) is one of three finalists in the Inspirational Volunteer category. She was shortlisted by an independent panel of 10 autism experts, who judged her on innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability. 

Jordan has been raising awareness and fundraising for The National Autistic Society since the age of four. She currently volunteers with the charity's One Stop Shop in Ayrshire, on health radio station 3TFM, and with autistic children and teenagers. In addition, she runs an autism information Facebook page and produces a free monthly newsletter called "JUST Jordan", which provides information on what it is like to grow up with autism. 

Jordan said: "I am honoured to have been shortlisted for the Inspirational Volunteer award at this year's Autism Professionals Awards. Raising awareness of autism is my passion and to have my volunteering efforts formally recognised by the charity is overwhelming. 

"I can’t wait to attend the ceremony and would love nothing more than to come home with an award!"

The annual Autism Professionals Awards, which are sponsored by Axcis Education Recruitment, were launched in 2013 to recognise and promote good autism practice and inspire others to improve their own work. There are 14 awards, covering education, health, social care, employment, community projects and volunteering. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at The National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference in Harrogate on 7 March 2017.

Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, said: "We run the Autism Professionals Awards each year to celebrate the people, projects and organisations making a difference to the lives of autistic people and their families in the UK.

"The standard of nominations is always very high so Jordan should be commended for impressing the judges and being shortlisted.

"Autism can have a profound effect on individuals and families but the right support from passionate and caring people and organisations can make all the difference. It’s important that we recognise the amazing people who provide this support so we can share best practice and inspire others."