Anna Kennedy OBE UK Autism Ambassador, Austin Hughes Senior Behavioural Support and Training Officer, Sean Kennedy Legal Adviser and parent Jen Leavesley took to the podium in the renowned ‘Churchill Room’ to speak about autism and the 3Ds. Diagnosis, Discrimination and Disability.
The average time for autism diagnosis is five years, a sad fact but unnervingly true. This length of time can lead to various complications linked to discrimination and delayed development and exposure to the correct resources and support.
Anna Kennedy OBE, Founder of leading autistic charity Anna Kennedy Online, who has two sons Patrick and Angelo, who are both on the spectrum has been campaigning for faster diagnosis, a greater understanding of the disability and better education in both schools and within the medical profession. Having these in place will allow recognition of early signs of autism and prevent long and unnecessary delays.
Along with Anna’s husband Sean Kennedy and dedicated team, Anna Kennedy Online has made dramatic and positive changes for families and individuals affected by autism. However, this presentation proved that there is still a long way to go, and much more is needed.
Those in attendance included current Miss England and junior doctor Carina Tyrell, ex London Olympian Rachel Christie, Debbie Moore OBE, Sir John Randall, Waterloo actor Richard Mylan and his son and the West Ham United Foundations Community Team, who are great supporters of Anna and her work.
As the presentation took place at the House of Commons, it was only fitting that politics was on the agenda. Austin Hughes, Senior Behavioural Support and Training Officer discussed the Big Society, and the meaning behind it. Austin stated the memorable notion that The Big Society, an idea created by David Cameron and senior MPs forms the notion of everyone working together as a community, wasn’t at number 10, or in Parliament, it was right there in the room. A room full of people wanting to learn, understand and fully support Anna and the charity, the true meaning of Big Society.
The overall outcome of the presentation was people came away educated and aware of the plight those affected by autism faced. Anna asked the question “who would be responsible for Patrick and Angelo once she had gone’, and Jen Leaveslen discussed that the two years it took for her daughter to be diagnosed was a quick response. These and other points made it clear that the work that the AKO team were doing was essential and imperative to improving the quality of care across all areas.
When you are diabetic, you go to a diabetes centre, and when you are asthmatic, you go to an asthma centre. Where do you go when you are autistic?