Autism Hwy
Login   |   Register


‘International and Global Events’ Articles

Global and International happenings.


Whew….I am soO happy and still processing all that occured during our 2nd Annual Chalk Festival!!  Wyatt and I feel especially blessed to have this fantastic spectrum of friends! The day was a true success in every sense of the word! Making friends with Autism was on all of our itineraries for FUN.

I do believe that happened for all in attendance including Mr. Kevin Stapleton the mayor of Covina!! 

 He was having a grand time meeting the many talented individuals the Chalk Art attracted. He heard the many stories from families and friends. He spoke eloquently when Exceptional Minds was given their 2011 ANCA Naturally Autistic Award, and he was down with the Artists as they colored perceptions experientially! Truly awesome. He took the time to talk with most every person there. It was a pleasure to see the expressions of joy, validation and self worth this triggered. I am wishing for April 2013 already!! Funny just how contagious this chalk-joy is!!  Have a look for yourselves…….  I want to thank everyone that made it to the event!! A very special thankyou to multi talented artist/actor/singer songwriter Michael Harding for taking the time out to sing his awesome  Autism anthem” Change a Life”…you Rock Mike!!


  • Share/Bookmark

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in International and Global Events | 2 Comments »

A Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out!


***Below, is a blog I wrote about the extraordinary Leo Gregory, last spring. As we move less than 2 months away from THE 3rd INTERNATIONAL NATURALLY AUTISTIC PEOPLE AWARDS CONVENTION & FESTIVAL…in Maple Ridge British Columbia,Canada; October, 19,20 & 21. I ask that ALL people and especially ANYONE that supports, loves or has an interest in the Autism Community to DONATE BELOW…..Self Advocates empowering themselves by sharing experiences and life journies is the best support that can be given!! These funds will directly help that become possible! PLEASE give these participants a hand up by funding expenditures that make travel possible to this powerful annual event!!IN FACT ~WE ask that YOU Add this to your list of Annual Causes and expenditures! It is well worth every cent! CLICK the blue link below! *** 

I have often called Leo Gregory Collura :Autism’s “It Girl” So often she is not even considered a “girl”. When people on the net see Leo they assume she is a man! With her name “nicked”~ Leonora  can fool the best of them. Her assertive and even aggressive style is almost always mistaken as “male energy.” I have seen her in some heated debates with individuals…ending in her opponent being stunned once her gender is revealed…haha. A woman?? But, she is so direct, so unabashed…so unafraid? Precisely!

PRECISELY what we need! Our Autism It GIRL. Leonora Gregory Collura. A “Natural Fit” for helping to empower the Autistic Community! She knew she was operating differently  as a young girl and learned to adapt in her amazing life…not recieving her diagnosis of “Autistic” until she was in her 30′s. She used her unique mind and talents to help others like herself without realizing , that she was. Her intuitions have served her well and she is a brilliant gem in the spectrum crown. Having traveled the world as a child she has a very worldly perspective. The environments that her parents placed her in have shaped a very cosmopolitan person. A very cosmopolitan Autistic person! What is that?, you say…haha~ Often what people are left saying after experiencing the energy that IS Leonora Gregory Collura. She is a whirlwind!

A whirlwind with the vision of a prophet! Her hopes and dreams for Autistic people evolved over the course of her lifetime. It is a passion for her. Her company ANCA Naturally Autistic has been supporting real understanding for families!  Her vision to empower people with a “hand up and NOT a hand out!” She has spent OVER 2 decades  investing her heart and soul helping people to understand themselves and eventually through the prism of the Autism Paradigm “from the inside out!” Supporting individuals to be aware of their unique “systems”, teaching them to harness that energy to be as effective as they can be in their daily lives. INVALUABLE in my opinion. We need this type of methodology everywhere.

In 2010 Leonora and her partner, husband Charlie Collura set out to raise the bar for Autistic People and the way in which the world views them. With the creation and implementation of The Annual International Naturally Autistic People Awards! ( & in 2011 adding a CONVENTION!)

That first year’s event in 2010 was exhilerating! I was a part of the ‘on-line team’ and was very excited to promote this kind of accolade for a society of people in waiting. Waiting for their chance to shine! People flew from all over the world to Canada for a chance to take place in the prestigious night.To be a part of history! By all accounts it was a fabulous event that started the ball rolling. Rolling like a snowball in this decade of GREAT CHANGE!!

In 2011 that happened…the Nominees and participants DOUBLED in size as new countries and talents joined in. An awesome CONVENTION was added and interactive workshops intensified the meaning of the entire event! Seeing Autistic people wowing and experientially teaching the crowd…again PRICELESS! I hopped on a plane and attended the festivities!


 As I have said before it was an experience worth waiting my whole life for! I serendipitiously turned 50 on the magical weekend! I never felt so UP-LIFTED in my life. The energy and happiness that we all experienced was undeniable! “Change” was one of the guests at this convention!! “IT” was present! In the voice of a young girl proclaiming she would be a part of the organization as long as they were NOT “Curists”. Upon hearing that the room was stunned and Leo’s greatest dreams were actualized in the heartbeat of that moment!!

The community is “getting it”and coming together proudly in a powerful way!Through the voices of the young people striving to emerge, as Leo had done in a much different world years earlier. Now, she was here and equipped to bridge a path for these emerging Autistic adults. Helping them gain exceptance and recognition to nurture their resolve. The resolve Leonora was born with.  The plans for this year’s 2012 event have been in full swing. The amount of work OUR “It-Girl” and her staff does to produce this event is staggering. Not only is she thinking years in advance (in warp speed)…she finds time to network brilliantly and create a whole Naturally Autistic Blogtalk radio regime simultaneously! I have no doubt that the 2012 INAP Awards Convention/ Festival will ROCK!! Please SUPPORT and or JOIN the Community and see how our IT GIRL and her many partners bring it all together for so many!! 

Leonora’s life is examined in Dr. Temple Grandin’s new book just released “Different, Not Less.” 

Ambassador for the INAP Awards Dr. Grandin knows what an Important Chapter Leo writes for the Autistic Community…….!


Currently*** Many Autistic Artists/ performers, Self-Advocates NEED HELP to finance this IMPORTANT TRIP !! Please donate generously so that THE Global Autistic Community will continue to EMPOWER itself and this will change life for ALL OF US!! ~Thankyou~

  • Share/Bookmark

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in International and Global Events, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


What can I say??? I have just experienced something so incredible, that I am not quite sure where to begin! If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I am rarely at a loss for words!!  The 2nd Annual Int’l Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention! Congratulations to  ANCA , you have done it again ! Last year had the pleasure to sponsor and help facilitate this event on-line ! This year I was honored to have been appointed the U.S. liaison for the event and able to appear as a workshop leader and audience member! Wow…like I said at the top Speechless.

The event was a 3 day affair. Friday night the Opening ceremony performances and Art exhibit were sensational! Works by this years recipients Esther Brokaw, Kevin Hosseini and Maria Iliou were featured!  Maria also a recipient this year of the community mentor award! We also were treated to paintings by last years recipients Joel Anderson ( ) and Danielle Bowman ( )!! Two amazing young people fully accepted and supported by their cool families! So important to the equation. Acceptance and the freedom to allow your child to follow their dreams. To see where the HWY of creativity takes them! As a matter of fact these two young artists had an appointment with an animation studio today here in Vancouver British Columbia!! Talk about diversifying! AWESOME!

We were entertained by past and present Award recipients!  2011 recipient Samantha Rudderham of Scotland. 2010 recipient Scott Siegel of and the superbly multi talented Joel Anderson! Wow…such amazing voices and perspectives! Scott’s performance was stunning! His father Michael Siegel told me it was the finest perfomance of his song  “Everything I know.” Scott is not just an  incredible voice. The lyrics he creates are stunning! Please take the time to explore this young mans talent! His Saturday workshop was a look into how he creates his music. Such an amazing experiential session in brilliance! How awesome that these artists and their families took this leap of faith…all the way to Canada! Bravo to you ALL!

2011 Award Recipient Erin Clemens a brilliant young woman from Pennsylvania sang her song “Crazy” and recited her amazing lyrics for the wowed audience. Such emotion revealed. Often times it is said of our population that they have “no filter.” Which is code for AUTHENTIC! How refreshing…young people that are real! Not clones of a media that has gone out of bounds. Where million dollar reality TV productions pretend authenticity. Pure unadulterated people. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more of that?! Well, AutismHWY  and ANCA Naturally Autistic believe it… and will work tirelessly until that is achieved. An enviornment of respect and resource for people on the Spectrum! Where young women like 2011 recipients Isabel Doucette and Jacynthe Geschke are recognized by their  Canadian Government for their accomplishments! Great job girls!

“A different way of being.” A phrase used by the organization from India 2011 recipients “Act Now for Autism”…we celebrate this philosophy and organization.  An organization in Los Angeles…” Exceptional Minds”  was chosen to recieve a beautiful statuette created especially for the Awards by the artists stated that these pieces represent the soul rising!  Congratulations to you all. Thanks to keynote speaker and workshop leader USC Professor Lars Perner a “Scholar with Autism”…who has an upcoming book with that very title. What an incredible mind!  Speaking of incredible minds Leonora Gregory Collura along with husband Charlie Collura and son Anthony Gregory should be very proud of this ripple affect they have begun with The Int’l Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention! A ripple of change in a world ready for authenticity to rule once again. a

Last but not least… A very special shout out to Jeremy Bernstein! If you remember he is a very good friend of AutismHWY’s after being such a fun and generous vendor at our “Show YOU Care~ Be Aware” Chalk Festival last spring. Jeremy won judge’s pick for submitting his creative jewelery business. He also won the audience’s heart for his comical and BRILLIANT AUTHENTICITY!!  What a weekend we had!………………. To be continued…………in 2012, with the 3rd Annual Int’l Naturally Autistic People Awards. See you THERE!

  • Share/Bookmark

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in International and Global Events, Uncategorized | No Comments »

It’s FAN’flippin’TASTIC!!

I couldnt resist! That is how we are  feeling like shouting it from the roof-tops down. “Here we are and we are coming at ya!”A whole NEW generation of Autistic People the likes of~ this world has never seen! ….Well, honestly they have. They just didn’t know what they were looking at!! ie: Albert Einstein,  Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Michelangelo etc…etc…lol!

The founders of ANCA Naturally Autistic should be lauded for their tenacity and lifetime vision. The vision of a “Real World” for Autistic people to live in. A world dictated by nature and a more comfortable approach for successes. Not the “Appropriate Behavior” warriors so harsh and unknowing. It is a shift in perceptions. A change in dynamics. Where understanding becomes the approach. Not uncomfortable conformity. It is a balance that demands to be achieved. The balance that Leonora Gregory Collura and Charlie Collura have created at Naturally Autistic ANCA. Now looking to share that balancing act GLOBALLY!

Their rich blend of lives experiences and their Autistic minds create a direct and elegant approach. ‘Understanding the paradigm from the inside out’ is so quintescentially ANCA! Exactly why they trademarked the phrase in the 90′s! “The inside-out”, where it makes the most sense to start. More correct information from an inside source. Now joined with many voices from the spectrum speaking up to pool resources. Sharing the more useful information about Autism and the elaborate nature of it all. The world’s senses will now experience the full flavor. Not just the vanilla that everyone has been spoon fed by non-Autistic minds. The stereotypical picture we have all seen of the sad Autistic child sitting all alone as the other kids bicker and fight, while laughing and playing in the background. Let’s tell the real story! That like life, Autism comes in many more flavors than Vanilla !  Autistic people are NOT stereotypes they are flesh and blood people. Our population is made up of real people~ with real talent ~ that have real challenges ~ and most importantly are really determined to be understood, accepted and aknowledged !!   THAT is the real story….

  The story that will be told on Friday, Saturday and Sunday~ Sept 23rd, 24th, & 25th. In Vancouver , B.C. Canada 2011 @ The 2nd ANNUAL INT’L NATURALLY AUTISTIC PEOPLE AWARDS & CONVENTION 

Read the program here in an 8 PAGE~FLIP-FORMAT~….

UTTERLY FANTASTIC…like I said !! & such sensory fun  to FLIP ~the Pages!! 


The quality and passion driving these artists is undeniable!! Such beauty and strength the future holds for them. A Flip of the Self-Esteem switch has happened and there is no turning it off!!. Just AWESOME!  The value and worth within the community will stimulate the planet…a planet that needs cognition stimulation and economic growth. New minds with differing perspectives are needed as demonstrated  by this years ~Keynote speaker & Workshop leader Academic Lars Perner. We had a fascinating conversation about  just that on our radio show last week. Listen in here…

Amazing vision and growth we believe will occur by harnessing the unique and brilliant talents of so many Autistic minds in conjunction with the rest of the world!! BRAVO to everyone involved with the 2011 2nd Annual Int’l Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention!

So, JOIN US please in celebration of the POWER of diversity!

  • Share/Bookmark

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in International and Global Events, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

 Page 1 of 3  1  2  3 »