975. Siena Castellon
Siena Castellon, from London, is a passionate advocate for autism acceptance who has created a specialist mentoring website tailored for young people with learning disabilities.
15 year old Siena, has Asperger’s, dyslexia, dyspraxia and AD(H)D, as well as anxiety, hypermobility, synaesthesia and a sensory processing disorder. She built ‘Quantum Leap Mentoring’ to provide advice and mentoring directly to young people with special educational needs or disabilities. The site provides resources to support young people address bullying, anxiety and asking for help. Siena draws on her own experiences and research she worked on with the University College of London’s ‘Centre for Research in Autism and Education’. Alongside her online activities, she is now providing peer outreach support with the Mayor of London to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM subjects. She spoke at City Hall for International Women’s Day this year and to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM in May.
In a personal letter to Siena, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By creating the ‘Quantum Leap Mentoring’ website, you are giving invaluable support to young people with autism and learning disabilities. You should feel very proud of creating a space where young people can find information about how to deal with bullying and anxiety and know that they are not alone.”
“I am thrilled to receive the Points of Light award in recognition of my autism advocacy, including the website I created to support and mentor kids with learning disabilities and autistic kids. There is still much work to be done to increase the understanding, support and acceptance of autism. This award has motivated me to continue my mission to raise awareness of disability-related bullying, the exclusion of autistic students and employment opportunities for autistic youth.”
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