"Ryan was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at the age of three. From age 3 to 7 he undertook intensive 1 to 1 therapy - over 40 hours a week - to teach him the basics; from recognising his parents to understanding facial expressions. He had to be taught to sit, to be physically restrained and listen and learn. Ryan is now 16 and attends a residential specialist school which caters for his specific needs. These manifest themselves in a severe Speech and Language Disorder. The progress he has made through hard work and application has been awe-inspiring. Ryan is exceptionally popular with peers and staff. He has achieved many heights that once seemed an impossible dream. He attended a Camp in the USA - travelling independently; he came second in a regional talent show singing in front of several hundred people and is caring and thoughtful in all that he does. He provides counsel, friendship and support to his peers and is considered a role model by them. He continues to push himself with determination and courage inspiring others despite his challenges."