The founder and principal of the Banbury-based group Parents Talking Asperger’s has been named as a finalist in the National Autistic Society’s Professionals Awards.
Karen Irvani, of Banbury, was nominated for the Most Inspirational Volunteer category by Georgie Heywood, Autistic Spectrum Mentor at the University of Oxford.
Mrs Irvani, whose son Reza has Asperger’s Syndrome, founded Parents Talking Asperger’s (PTA) in February 2012 as a Facebook page. Its first meeting was in her front sitting room with 25 parents .
The following month PTA held its first Fun Night the and speaker events in June and October of the same year.
Now PTA supports a community of almost 600 families in person, online and by telephone.
Mrs Irvani said: “I feel very humbled and delighted to be nominated for a National Autistic Society award.
“I can’t even comprehend winning because getting this far is almost enough. It’s real recognition of how far PTA has come in the past three years.
“Before I set up PTA in 2012, I’d never met another parent like me and my son had never met another boy like him, with Asperger’s and associated conditions.
“This nomination is for all of those families, to show that by working together we can change the face of living a life that’s wired rather differently, with autism.
“Being there for each other in high times and low, really makes sense of everything. PTA friendships between parents, children and young people will be life-long, for sure.”
Mrs Irvani said her Christian faith was at the heart of the success and added: “Whatever the outcome. It’s for my boy Reza, for other families like ours and, ultimately, for the cause of autism.”
The ceremony takes place on March 3 in Harrogate.
For more information, visit www.parents-talking-asperg ers.co.uk or contact Mrs Irvani on 01295 269455 or firstname.lastname@example.org