In April this year I received the great news that I was nominated as an official nominee to receive an INAP (International Naturally Autistic People) award. The INAP celebrates the talents of autistic people and the awards ceremony would take place in Vancouver during the 8th Annual World Autism Festival from September 28th to October 4th. I was a nominee in the category of visual arts representing Canada.
On Sunday night October 1st, very early in the morning, I flew to Vancouver to attend the awards ceremony. I couldn’t attend the World Autism Festival the whole week, because that was just too expensive. The awards ceremony started at 4pm with a meet and greet, red carpet media coverage, and interviews. I met amazing people from Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and many other countries. It was amazing. At 6pm the awards ceremony itself began. There were many performances of artists who were also official nominees. The awards were divided into a few different categories — visual arts, performing arts, excellence in technology and great work done by individuals and organizations for the autistic community. I won the the third prize in the category of visual arts. The second prize went to an artist from the Philippines and the first to an artist from Taiwan.
It was an amazing experience and I hope to be there again next year.