We’re better together.
Autism West Ambassadors
Autism West is grateful to have the support of a wonderful team of volunteer Ambassadors from all walks of life who give their time and talent to help promote Autism West and raise awareness, and acceptance, about autism in the community.
Whether they’re speaking at a community event, engaging with our members and supporters, helping us fundraise, or appearing in the media, they make a valuable contribution to our mission to improve the lives of young Western Australians with autism, enabling them to connect successfully with others and the world around them.
We are fortunate to have the support of a number of well-known individuals who represent Autism West in their role as Ambassador. Our Goodwill Ambassadors donate their voices, time and influence to help Autism West by sharing our story in the media, speaking on our behalf, supporting and promoting our campaigns, and meeting our members.
Professor Lyn Beazley, AO FTSE
After graduating from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, Professor Beazley built an internationally renowned research team in Neuroscience that focused on recovery from brain damage, much of her investigations undertaken as Winthrop Professor at The University of Western Australia. Currently Lyn is the Sir Walter Murdoch Professor of Science at Murdoch University.
As Chief Scientist of Western Australia from 2006 to 2013, Professor Beazley advised the Western Australian Government on science, innovation and technology as well as fulfilling the role of science ambassador locally, nationally and internationally. Professor Beazley has received many honours during her career in recognition of both her professional achievements and her commitment to philanthropy. These have included the Officer of the Order of Australia, the Governor’s Award for Giving, WA Australian of the Year for 2015. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and of the College of Educators. Professor Beazley has also been inducted into the inaugural Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame and is a Companion of the Institute of Engineers.
Michael Malone founded iiNet Limited in 1993 and continued as CEO until retiring in 2014. During his tenure, iiNet grew to service one million households and businesses, with revenues of one billion dollars and a market cap of over one billion dollars.
Michael is a former Maths teacher, was a member of the State Training Board advising the Education Minister, the Australian Institute of Management, and a director of Scitech, WA’s leading centre for the promotion of STEM for children (and enthusiastic adults!). He was a founding director and deputy chairman of Autism West, which developed out of FOCAS (“Focus of Children on the Autism Spectrum”), an organisation with a long history of assisting families who are familiar with ASD. Mr Malone presently sits on the boards of nbnco, SpeedCast, Seven West Media, and Axicom, and was the founder of Diamond Cyber Security.
Our Community Ambassadors include adults on the spectrum, families, carers, and a range of experts and professionals who share their experiences and insights on:
- living with autism
- living and caring for a loved one on the autism spectrum
- supporting people with autism
- the work of Autism West
Our Community Ambassadors are role models who support the importance of equality for individuals with autism and illustrate the importance of diversity.
Regina Ledo is a Psychologist with over 20 years experience in working with individuals with autism and their families. Regina studied at Murdoch University; while undertaking post-graduate studies she joined the landmark Murdoch University Young Autism Project and began her career in supporting individuals with autism. She spent 12 years at the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) – a private, center-based educational program for individuals with autism, the majority of these as a trainer in the institute’s early intervention, education, and adult programs. This included a five-year appointment at Mountainview, one of in the institute’s group homes, where she resided with her family under the Teaching Family model. Regina is currently in private practice, consulting to families and agencies supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
Scott has been with Autism West for over four years, managing the organisations IT, website, and more. Scott is also on the autism spectrum, has studied his Certificate 3 and 4 in IT, and also worked almost 10 years in a library. He is currently on the board (as Webmaster) of WAADF (WA Autism Diagnosticians’ Forum), and enjoys snooker, reading, movies and supports the West Coast Eagles.
Christina Holly currently works at Edith Cowan University and lectures in both Primary and Secondary Education. Christina has a special interest in diversity and inclusive education, formative assessment and how to effectively allow all children to access their highest potential across academic, emotional and social domains. Christina was a Secondary Science and Mathematics teacher for many years and still remains involved in ATAR courses in human biology. Having her first daughter diagnosed with autism has fostered Christina’s special interest in supporting educators to successfully cater to the range of complexities of students with autism. It also prompted her to begin her PhD exploring professional learning communities in secondary schoo, and how best to support our young adults with an autism diagnosis whilst at school, in preparation for a valued and fruitful post-secondary pathway in our community.
Our Regional Ambassadors connect with people in regional communities, talking openly about their personal experiences with autism, and the challenges of living in a regional community in Western Australia, an experience that can be incredibly isolating. Our Regional Ambassadors help to reduce the feelings of isolation that often accompany living in a regional community, through a sense of connection and shared experiences.
Wayne and Belinda Owston
Wayne and Belinda Owston, along with their 2 young children Bridgette (6) and Jake (3) run a small beef and dairy operation in Whitby Falls and Serpentine, 50kms south of Perth. In December 2015, their son Jake was diagnosed as autistic, and their daughter Bridgette was diagnosed in march 2016. They believe the best way to deal with life on the autism spectrum is the rural setting, combining farm life, animal health, welfare and autism. The children are involved in all aspects of the farm and enjoy the experience, helping to develop the fine motor skills, communication and problem solving abilities, while enjoying fresh air and open space. Wayne and Belinda are very proud to take on the role as regional ambassadors for Autism West; hoping they can continue to raise awareness within the rural communities of Western Australia as well as providing help and assistance where possible.
The Autism West Youth Ambassador Program is a unique and exciting program providing youth aged 15-25 across Western Australia a platform to share their personal experiences of living with ASD as a young person, whilst raising autism awareness in schools, workplaces and local communities.
Youth Ambassadors will be supported to share their stories within schools, workplaces and the local community, and are provided with ongoing support.
Our Youth Ambassadors are also provided with opportunities and encouraged to join Autism West projects such as the Youth Advisory Council.
Charlie Paganin is a young Western Australian artist who is on the autism spectrum. His favourite mediums are painting and drawing, and he enjoys the ocean and music. Through his art, Charlie is able to connect and communicate with the community about his world.
His style reflects his temperament, which is bright and honest and full of enthusiasm. Charlie completed WACE Visual Arts 1AB at Christ Church Grammar School in 2015 and attended Central Institute of Technology (TAFE) in the Art Start course. He exhibited at Mobilia’s Exhibition 7, an exhibition of Fritz Hansen Series 7 chairs featuring other Western Australian based artists.
In 2016 Charlie received an Arts Nexus Grant to develop his visual art and held his first solo exhibition “Going around in Circles” in 2017, and also exhibited at the PLC Art Exhibition. Both exhibitions were sold out.
Charlie received a further Nexus grant in 2017 and used this to develop a book, ‘Charlie’s Alphabet Book’. He attends Autism West’s social groups and delivered the closing address at the Autism West Symposium with his brother Mikey in 2019. He works part time at Westcare in Nedlands whilst pursuing his passion for art at DADAA and home. His most recent artistic pursuit was writing and starring in the movie “Charlie and the lost IPAD”.