It was fantastic to see ANCA Naturally Autistic in L.A. today on the ‘Big Screen.’ In the midst of a turbulent year the Life Fest Film Fest chose to screen the fantastic and wonderfully calming 60 minute documentary “Connected: A Film About Autistic People” directed by Sonia Suvagau, executive produced by Charlie and Leonora Collura the founders of ANCA.
The film follows friends and participants at the 5th Annual INAP International Naturally Autistic People Awards and World Autism Festival held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2014. The connections so clearly seen in the film jump off of the screen right into your heart. The exchange of Autistic energy is a very high vibration and it shines through with brilliant force and enlightenment in the films entirety.
The interaction amongst Autistic friends and family members is something tangible that is very hard to describe. Yet once you have experienced it you won’t soon forget the feelings evoked. One such film festival goer had to tell those of us watching with Leonora and Charlie that he felt “energized” by viewing the film. I just had to giggle because I know full well of what he speaks. It’s undeniable and it is a HIGH. A high vibration of acceptance that filters out the ‘human ideals’ we have all been forced to assimilate into. Ideals that do not always go hand and hand with our innate humanity and our individual systemology.
Seeing so many honest and lighthearted Autistic moments seemed to transport me back in time to the 2nd Annual INAP Awards Festival of 2011 that AutismHWY attended in Vancouver, Canada. People from around the globe working from the heart to create support systems for creative expression and complete connection. It’s what ANCA has naturally done for 22 years and seeing those energetic results on film was truly magnetic. Exactly the energy felt four years ago when life changing connections were made over that year’s 3-day event.
The empowered Autistic children and adults that participate in this annual event are sharing their dreams with the world so the world will share their dreams. AutismHWY firmly believes in the power of Autistic people and this film is just proof that seeing IS believing!
April Dawn Griffin, Kelly Green and Leonora Gregory Collura….CONNECTING!
***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!!
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~
The Autism Community has had a stellar year! The magnificent movement for understanding, change and acceptance is aligning hundreds of stars, that in turn ignite hundreds of other stars. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my star AutismHWY.com ! One of the varied and many, many STARS in our Autism Galaxy. Stars that are…ALIGNING! Aligning into the most beautiful constellation. A constellation for acceptance and understanding as opposed to change! It is an awesome movement that truly is a COSMIC CONNECTION! Surely many of you feel this stellar magnetism I am talking about. The energy and vibrancy of thousands of stars that are ready to explode into the atmosphere.
An information explosion! It is beginning to happen as mainstream dialogue has begun regarding sensory “over-load” and information “processing”. Language which refers to the brain as the computer~ that it is. This new knowledge is evolving as we hurl into the future. Moving at the speed of a comet! Universal understanding of the proportions we here at AutismHWY.com are dreaming of…is quite frankly “people changing.” Not JUST “life changing.”
It is far more important that people change, their minds and change their own understanding of how the mind and body connect! Autism is a fabulous tool to advance this! The “thinking about thinking” I have written about in the past will be the catalyst to that change. When people simply slow down and consider that process…they will see the light.The light of knowledge and incredible self awareness. Understanding the filing of experiences and associations the Autistic mind makes is a fascinating venture. Alot for the world, to finally learn about the inner workings of our humanity. What exactly it is that makes up our “beings.” Something we have long been distracted from as this age of industry has taken things to incredibly distracting levels.
“From the rock to the spear to the ipad,” Leonora Gregory Collura (the co-founder of ANCA & The INAP Awards) recently told me. “People are the same, they never change…they are boring!” She states a point in fact. People are still dividing and segregating and waring…what’s different?
What’s different NOW is that people ARE changing! Autistic People are proof. We have different minds and thinkers, changing the world rapidly. So the rest of the world will need to catch up and understand the organic nature of what I am saying here. This new learning curve. Listen to people like Academic Lars Perner and INAP Awards Ambassador Dr. Temple Grandin www.templegrandin.com as they clearly show in their upcoming books how Autistic Minds are intensely and immediately valuable to this world. These identifiably different thinkers have expanded technology throughout the ages and most certainly will continue in that process.
So catch on to these rising and shooting stars. These stars careening to this NEW AGE in constellation forming. This constellation that understands the Autistic paradigm and how it is REALLY the Human/Mind/Body Connection paradigm. Charting a whole new course for mother earth by changing the directions of the hearts and minds of it’s inhabitants! This constellation will definitly be the brightest this Universe has ever known.
I saw an amazing glimpse into this “BRIGHT FUTURE” first hand, this fall at the 2011 International Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention in Vancouver, Canada! Take a look for yourself!…
These people and many others created an energy I will long remember. Every year as the INAP Awards /Convention and other positive Autism events continue this life-changing energy will grow. This energy will have the incredible strength to SHIFT people’s consciousness and set things straight. The Autistic population said to be the world’s “disconnected people”
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 www.naturallyautistic.com , you have done it again ! Last year AutismHWY.com 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 ( www.joelsvisionarts.com ) and Danielle Bowman ( www.powerlight-studios.com)!! 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 ofwww.arrestmysister.comand 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 workshopwas 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 www.melonglass.cathe 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!