***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!! www.naturallyautistic.com Please SUPPORT and or JOIN the Community and see how our IT GIRL and her many partners bring it all together for so many!!