Nathaniel Hawley is on a mission to prove that just because somebody has autism, it doesn't mean they can't achieve great things.

In the last two years the Battersea man has trained more than 2000 individuals with a range of diverse conditions in communication, confidantes and helped them find meaningful employment.

Now the 27-year-old has been shortlisted by the National Autistic Society for one of the charity's top honours.

Director for ‘the dyslexia employment academy’ at Exceptional Individuals, Mr Hawley said being named a finalist in the 'outstanding achievement by an individual on the autism spectrum award' category meant the world to him.

“I'm honoured to have been shortlisted in the Autism Professionals Awards 2019," he said.

“The work that we have achieved in the community and with Exceptional Individuals is something I am incredibly proud of.

"Autism, with the right support, is an amazing gift, it is my life passion to empower these creative thinkers and innovators, supporting them to achieve their highest potential."

Being autistic means, someone sees, hears and feels in a different, often more intense way to other people, which can make the world a very overwhelming place.

Every autistic person is different and many people also have a learning disability, mental health problems or other conditions.

Carol Povey, director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said: “We run the Autism Professionals Awards each year to recognise and celebrate the people, projects and organisations doing amazing things for autistic children, adults, or their families.

“All the finalists should be commended for impressing the judges and standing out among so many excellent nominations.

“By celebrating their achievements, we hope to improve public understanding of autism and inspire other people and organisations to make a difference too.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on March 7 in Birmingham, as part of the National Autistic Society’s professional conference.