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The Joan Craig Trailblazer Award is given to an individual with a lifetime commitment to advancing the work of Autism Nova Scotia by creating awareness, acceptance, and opportunities for the autism community. This award is presented annually to a change-maker who has made a tremendous contribution to neurodiversity.

“When Jack and I started Autism Nova Scotia in 2002, we never dreamed it would become the organization it is today. We responded to a desperate need for supports and programs for Autistic individuals and their families right across the province. I could not have imagined that in under 20 years, the organization would reach people from Yarmouth to Cape Breton, from Halifax to Amherst with so many unique and vital programs and services for Autistic people throughout their lifespans. I am so proud of the reality that has been born from our vision.” – Joan Craig

For our 20th anniversary, we were beyond honoured to present the inaugural Trailblazer award to our beloved co-founder, Joan Craig.

Sheelagh Nolan Award

2022 nomination period is now closed

The Sheelagh Nolan Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented at our Holiday Open House on November 29, 2022.


The Sheelagh Nolan Award for Excellence in Teaching is a prestigious award that honours the devotion and perseverance of the late Sheelagh Nolan. Sheelagh was an active contributor to many school and community causes. Sheelagh’s son, Patrick, is on the Autism Spectrum and was always Sheelagh’s greatest inspiration. With this award, we celebrate her legacy of support and her championing of excellence in education.

The winner of this award may be an individual or group—such as a teacher, a student support team, or a learning team—within a recognized and accredited Nova Scotia education centre, college, university, or Designated Special Education Private School (DSEPS).

Nominations will be accepted from parents, educators, learning support personnel, or learners at a school in Nova Scotia. With this award, we will recognize the efforts of an individual or team who fosters the growth and maximizes the potential of a learner or learners on the Autism Spectrum in a collaborative and positive manner.

Sheelagh Nolan Award for Excellence in Teaching: Criteria

When choosing someone to nominate, please clearly explain how that individual or team provides an exceptional learning environment for Autistic learners. In other words, be specific in your examples, using real life stories and situations.

Include information for all five criteria listed below, as they will be weighed equally when reviewed. Other comments may also be considered when reviewing applications.

  1. The person I am nominating works hard to help the Autistic learner(s) grow.
  2. The person I am nominating recognizes the importance of collaborating with the learner, family/caregivers, educators, and other significant partners involved.
  3. The person I am nominating helps the Autistic learner(s) build self-esteem and peer relationships.
  4. The person I am nominating consistently ensures they use the best practices and the most current information about autism and teaching Autistic learners.
  5. The person I am nominating is a teacher, member of a student support team, or learning team within an acredited Nova Scotia education centre, college/university or DSEPS school.

Amy Farnell Education Awards

WHAT: Post-secondary award  

FOR WHOM: Full-time Nova Scotia students on the autism spectrum 

MAXIMUM AMOUNT: $3,000 a year, renewable for up to four years 

MADE POSSIBLE BY: The Craig Foundation and Autism Nova Scotia 

STAY TUNED FOR 2023 APPLICATION PROCESS

In honour of Amy Farnell, long-time supporter and cherished friend, Autism Nova Scotia and the Craig Foundation are pleased to present the Amy Farnell Education Award(s) to eligible Nova Scotian students who identify as being on the autism spectrum, and who have been accepted into a full-time post-secondary program.

Each year, the Craig Foundation will contribute $25,000 to the award with each individual award valued at up to $3,000 a year. Each award is renewable for the regular duration of the chosen program, to a maximum of four years. To renew, the student must be in good academic standing and remain enrolled full-time. 

The Award is administered by Autism Nova Scotia in partnership with the Craig Foundation and the Amy Farnell Awards Committee. 

CRITERIA 

To be considered for this award, applicants must: 

  • Be a resident of Nova Scotia. 
  • Identify as autistic/someone on the autism spectrum.  
  • Have been accepted to, or currently enrolled in any post-secondary institution. 
  • Be registered to a course load that qualifies them as a full-time student. 
  • Be more likely to pursue post-secondary education with this extra financial support. 

To apply for this award, eligible applicants must: 

1. Complete the Application Form, including the essay portion.

2. Submit the completed Application Form along with the Acceptance Letter from the student’s educational institution for the upcoming academic year OR a confirmation of enrollment with program start date.

3. Provide an official high school transcript or official post-secondary transcript.

If you have any questions regarding the application process for the Amy Farnell Award, please contact us at amyfarnellaward@autismns.ca or call 902-446-4995.