Our ambassadors

Our ambassadors

A number of autistic Australians have thrown their support behind Yellow Ladybugs.

Annie O'Reilly

Annie O’Reilly featured on LEGO® Masters Australia with building partner Runa Lindblom. Annie’s been contributing to the Yellow Ladybugs community as an ambassador since 2020, along with her efforts in the Melbourne LEGO® Community. Annie also forms part of the team that hosts Brickvention Live/Online (Australia’s Premier LEGO® Fan Convention).

Read more about Annie O’Reilly

Comments from Annie

"It takes practice, dedication, belief in your abilities (yes, you are doing it right!) and commitment to master your desired skill."

Chloé Hayden

Chloé Hayden is an award-winning motivational speaker, actor, performer, author, influencer, content creator and disability rights activist and advocate, the heart of which these all intersect being her passion for creating change, celebrating diversity, and pushing towards a better future.

Chloé debuted her film acting career in short film Jeremy The Dud and is now best known for her AACTA winning performance as Quinni in Netflix's Heartbreak High, where she made history as Australia's first mainstream autistic actress, and one of the first autistic characters in history to actually be played by an autistic actress.

Chloé’s passion for pushing change is also highlighted in documentary Embrace, Kids, and most notably in her best-selling memoir Different, Not Less.

Read more about Chloé Hayden

Comments from Chloé

"Over time, I’ve been able to learn that I don’t have to be a certain way. I don’t have to look a certain way; I don’t have to restrict myself and hurt myself – just to get the validation and the love that I deserve.

"Our brains are made of magic and when we are put in environments where that magic can flourish, it is going to be the coolest freakin’ thing ever".

Ebony Birch-Hanger

Ebony is a qualified early childhood, primary and special education teacher, teacher of the deaf, neurodevelopmental therapist, education consultant, Kodaly music specialist, music director/choral conductor and also, a public speaker.

She has over a decade of experience in the education and disability fields, supporting both children and adults in home and school settings. She presents regularly at national and international conferences on autism, neurodiversity, special education, anxiety, auditory processing and music education.

Read more about Ebony Birch-Hanger

Comments from Ebony

"Spread this message. Validate autism, validate autistic identity, but please don’t just see a person’s autism and nothing else"

Han Arbuthnott

Transmasculine comedian Han Arbuthnott has has appeared at many Melbourne Comedy Festival rooms and has opened for Hannah Gadsby, which was both a dream and a very sweaty reality.

Read more about Han Arbuthnott

Comments from Han

"I think being queer, trans and autistic is particularly hard when you’re in school, and you’re in an environment where you don’t get to choose the people you spend most of your time with.

So, you can get stuck in classes with bullies or with teachers who don’t get it. And I think that’s important if you can try to make an effort to find your people.

My advice to teens is to talk to staff at school about starting some kind of queer hangout group."

Hannah Gadsby

Since stopping the comedy world in its tracks with their Netflix special, Nanette, Hannah has managed to stay pretty busy.

They have done two more solo stand-up shows which toured the world – playing to sold out houses across the US, Australia and Europe.

Douglas launched on Netflix in 2020 and their third Netflix special will launch in 2023 as Something Special.

Read more about Hannah Gadsby

Comments from Hannah

What would you like this generation of autistic girls to know?

"You have a problem solver’s brain and there’s lots of problems in the world. Try not to get anxious trying to solve them all."

What do you consider to be your autistic strengths?

"I like how I can think big and small at the same time and make all the connections."

What is the most effective think we can do to change the narrative around autism?

"In the same way that the narrative is changed for any minority – we need to speak for ourselves."

Penny Robinson

Penny Robinson is a Monash University lecturer, based in Melbourne, Australia. She teaches biostatistics to the first-year biomedical science students and medicine students.

She is proudly the longest serving ambassador for Yellow Ladybugs (commencing in 2015) and is a passionate autism advocate. She is also a speaker and ally to a number of fellow autistic organisations in Australia.

Read more about Penny Robinson

Comments from Penny

"I believe that everyone has their own journey and their own timeline. Don’t be afraid to do it ‘your way’, in your own time. Take many small stepping-stones to achieve your goals – rather than fewer, bigger, more daunting ones."

Shadia Hancock

Shadia is the proud owner and founder of Autism Actually, and ambassador for Yellow Ladybugs. They are currently studying Bachelor of Speech Pathology, with the long-term goal of specialising in AAC, Autism, language development, and animal-assisted therapy.

Shadia was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three, and Generalised Anxiety Disorder at the age of 14. Being non-binary, they enjoy discussing the intersectionality of Autism and gender diversity.

Read more about Shadia Hancock

Comments from Shadia

"I think having autistic role models to look up to for support or guidance, whether that's mentors or celebrity examples, autistic advocates in our community, even fictional characters that we can relate to, I think is a really powerful thing - to be able to model for our young people"

Summer Farrelly

Summer Farrelly is an autistic advocate, public speaker, inclusion and education consultant, artist, chicken whisperer and creator plus facilitator of the Animal Assisted Learning Program.

Summer publicly shares their personal insight and the benefits of human and animal connection. Often stepping out of their comfort zone sharing vulnerable, raw, and real moments of life challenges faced by young autistic teens in hope to educate and inspire others.

Read more about Summer Farrelly

Comments from Summer

"I want to challenge and change people’s perceptions on autistic abilities and outdated stereotypes."

"With the correct understanding and support we are able to shine, achieve amazing things and are able to believe in ourselves."