Carrickfergus man Ryan Hendry nominated for National Diversity Award
A Carrickfergus man has been nominated for a National Diversity Award in recognition of his advocacy for autistic people.
Ryan Hendry has been nominated in the Positive Role Model (Disability) category of the awards, which celebrate the achievements of grass-roots communities in tackling the issues in today’s society.
A former pupil of Carrickfergus Grammar School, Ryan was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a child and later, at the age of 13, was diagnosed with autism.
"As an autistic teenager, I was very aware that I was treated differently to my peers, and I was denied the same opportunities as others due to my condition," he said.
"This lit a fire inside me, a desire to make sure that future generations will be given the opportunities that I was denied."
Ryan spends much of his time highlighting the issues that many autistic people face in daily life, such as the access to employment and public services.
The 26-year-old aims to ensure that every neurodivergent person has access to the tools, support and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.
"I’ve never been nominated for anything before, so simply to have been nominated alongside such highly respected and influential disability advocates has been a huge honour," he added.
In order to have a chance of making the awards shortlist, Ryan is seeking help from the local community. "If you could take a few minutes of your time to tell the folks at the National Diversity Awards about why I should be shortlisted, it would honestly mean the world to me," he added.
To vote for Ryan in the shortlist, visit the National Diversity Awards website.
Nominations close on June 4.