By Sammi SLAYBACK
Autistic animator and La Cañada resident Danielle Bowman, 17, received the Golden Goody Award last week for her efforts to raise autism awareness in her community.
The Golden Goody Award represents the highest praise of all Goody Awards. Its purpose is to honor individuals who show excellence by doing “social good” every day. Bowman was given the award for her participation in fundraising to give autistic children iPads, as well as for her work in the “Rethinking Autism” public service announcement and her two anti-bullying books.
Being the recipient of the Golden Goody Award, Bowman will get to choose who will receive an iPad for the Goody Awards Autism Acceptance Month Sweepstakes. The iPads appear to help improve nonverbal autistic children’s communication skills.
After sharing that she hadn’t started speaking until after she was 5 years old, Bowman revealed that her own childhood struggles were a large motivating factor in her interest in the iPad fundraiser.
“I wanted to give a nonverbal autistic child a voice,” said Bowman.
She was presented the award by Fox television star Lauren Dair Owens at a ceremony hosted by Deutsch L.A. Advertising Agency in Los Angeles on Friday. Young Disney stars Zach Callison and Ariel Fournier were also present to support the Rethinking Autism PSA and to congratulate Bowman on her achievements.
“My mom is a speech therapist, so I got to grow up working with autistic kids,” Owens shared in her speech. “It was really eye-opening.” Owens went on to discuss what an inspiration Danielle Bowman is and referred to her as “a voice for everyone.”
If there is one thing Danielle Bowman wants everyone to know it is that anyone can achieve their dreams.
“As a person impacted by autism, I feel it’s important to demonstrate that you can do anything you want to do,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a disability or not.
“I have autism, but autism does not have me.”