Rosie King is a “tower of strength” - talented teenager is nominated for a Yorkshire children of Courage Award

Rosie King with her younger siblings Daisy and Lenny.

Rosie King with her younger siblings Daisy and Lenny.

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At just 16 years old, Rosie King has presented an Emmy Award-winning documentary, illustrated a children’s book and spoken at a prestigious Washington conference that was broadcast live to 150 countries worldwide.

But it is for the “tower of strength” she provides her parents in helping to care for her younger brother and sister that Rosie, of Horbury, Wakefield, has been nominated for a Yorkshire Children of Courage award.

Rosie, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, gained international acclaim when she presented a special BBC Newsround documentary My Autism and Me in 2011, after being spotted on the local news talking about illustrating her mother’s children’s book.

Her natural ease at explaining the condition, which severely affects both Daisy, 14, and Lenny, 12, helped the programme pick a host of awards, including an International Emmy and a Royal Television Society Award.

It also prompted more awareness work, and she has become a Young Campaigner for the National Autistic Society, working on a Government paper to improve educational support for young people in mainstream schooling.

Earlier this month saw her biggest achievement yet, when she was invited by the TED corporation to speak to 1,000 delegates at its TEDMED conference in Washington in the United States.

But for her parents, Sharon and Richard King, it is the way she supports and helps her family that make them most proud.

Mrs King, who nominated Rosie for the Young Carer award, said: “Above all else, Rosie is a loving sister and daughter. She always speaks up if someone behaves badly towards her brother and sister, but does so with a maturity and sense of understanding beyond her years.

“She is also a tower of strength to me. When I’m feeling down she is there to reassure me and volunteers to help with Daisy and Lenny’s day to day needs.

“Rosie is so tolerant. The kids make a mess everywhere they go, and often wake up in the night, making a noise, so Rosie has a lot to cope with, on top of her own condition, yet she is studying and doing all this awareness work on a global scale. We’re incredibly proud of her.”

Rosie, who is studying for her A Levels at New College Pontefract, said she felt “really proud” to be considered for the award, and is looking forward to the ceremony, which takes place next month at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. But the modest teenager played down her achievements, and the care she gives to Daisy and Lenny.

“It’s just older sister duties,” she said. “I treat them like anybody else.”

When preparing to present My Autism and Me, Rosie worked with producers to amend the script, which she felt was too negative.

“At first it wasn’t real, it was too depressing. Autism is not a negative thing, and the kids watching it wouldn’t have felt that. That’s why I think it was so successful, because it showed a positive side,” she said.

Rosie also wrote the speech for the TEDMED talk, and helped combat her nerves with a lot of rehearsal at home.

“It still seems kind of strange, because I’m the last person you would ask to do this sort of thing,” she added.

The Yorkshire Children of Courage awards honour the bravest and most courageous young people in the region, while raising money for disadvantaged youngsters.

Tickets are on sale for the event, which takes place on October 10. The event is hosted by BBC presenter Steph McGovern and includes music by tenor Jonathan Ansell and a dinner by Aagrah Restaurants.

Our sister title The Yorkshire Post is media partner for the awards, which is sponsored by Arrow Cars, and will feature full coverage of winners.

To purchase tickets visit www.yorkshirechildren.co.uk