Young Citizen of the Year award for Whitford Catholic Primary School student author and advocate

01 February 2022

Lachlan Beveridge, a student at Whitford Catholic Primary School, was recently named Young Citizen of the Year 2022 by the City of Joondalup, the latest achievement in his work as an advocate for people with autism. 

The city recognised his efforts in promoting understanding of autism, efforts which have included co-authoring a story book for children dealing with anxiety.

Lachlan Beveridge with his Young Citizen of the Year medal and certificate, presented by City of Joondalup Mayor, Hon. Albert Jacob, at a ceremony on 26 January, 2022.

Lachlan has autism, and used his personal experiences of anxiety to write Don’t Forget to Breathe with his mother Kylie, who is the founder and director of Autism Awareness organisation, Paint Me A Rainbow. 

“I feel very proud to have received this award, and for the recognition of what I have been doing with our charity,” Lachlan said. 

Lachlan and Kylie wrote the story in Don’t Forget to Breath about two years ago, after which they worked with illustrator, Peter Ryan, to bring the story to life. 

“Many people with autism suffer from anxiety,” Lachlan said. 

“Mum and I wrote this book to help people understand what it might feel like to have anxiety and a little way to make yourself feel better if you do,” 

The story centres on main character, Flash, a dragon, who is feeling worried on his first day of school, and focuses on the importance of breathing to help with his anxiety. 

“Lachlan and I have talked about the importance of taking deep breaths to calm anxiety… I would take him to school early and push him on the swings to help him self-regulate and talk with him about his feelings,” Kylie said. 

“I really enjoyed writing this book with mum, because when I was younger we really used these techniques to help calm my aniexty,” Lachlan said.

City of Joondalup Young Citizen of the Year, Lachlan Beveridge, wearing a Paint Me a Rainbow autism awareness tee shirt.

After writing the story, it took about 12 months to work with Peter on the illustrations. 

“We met with Peter and discussed our dragons’ characteristics… Peter sketched all the designs first and would send each drawing for Lachlan and I to review; we were very lucky that Peter knew exactly what we wanted,” Kylie said. 

“I loved working with Peter, he is a great artist,” said Lachlan. 

“I enjoyed seeing my book slowly come to life with the beautiful pictures Peter created, 

“I really hope this book can help children that might feel worried,” 

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