Anna Kennedy OBE on BBC Panorama’s Kids in Crisis “The services need to change”

Anna Kennedy OBE on BBC Panorama’s Kids in Crisis “The services need to change”

Yesterday I watched BBC Panorama’s ‘Kids in Crisis’.

Many parents share their experiences with us through our charity and I was not surprised to hear that Britain is in the grip of a child mental health crisis.

Nearly half a million children are awaiting treatment. The Government has promised more money for child mental health and reading messages across my social media it would appear to be very much a postcode lottery as it is for diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition.

I am speaking to parents where there children are being sent hundreds of miles away. This is a strain on the whole family and causes anxiety for the child experiencing mental health difficulties.

In the programme Sean Fletcher father to a young man with OCD investigates and speaks to families that have been let down by the system .

Watching Sean talk to families and children affected was heartbreaking.

Reading hundreds of messages on my social media pages the key phrases that were repeated over and over by families experiencing difficulties were :

  • Parents feeling powerless
  • Definitely a postcode lottery service
  • CAMHs services are stretched
  • Not fit for purpose
  • Children at risk
  • Travelling miles away and waiting years to be treated.
  • A feeling of desperation.
  • Attempts of suicide
  • Parents breakdown.
  • Not enough trained staff .
  • Early intervention is crucial !!!!
  • #shockingstateofaffairs
  • #notgoodenough

The services need to change we must start working with children as soon as possible and stop fire fighting when it gets to crisis point.

These children are our future generation and they need our support.

MovementWorks® For Autism

MovementWorks® For Autism

It was lovely to have opportunity to discuss with Anna Kennedy on Women’s’ Radio Station this week the huge benefits dance can have for individuals on the spectrum. Not only physically, socially and emotionally but through our intentional evidence based interventions we can improve brain function including speech & language and global learning #MovementWorks

Anna asked how the children are able to concentrate for an extended period of up to 45 mins.

This is due to the way our sessions are structured and delivered, harnessing the power of movement and music to bring the whole brain to attention. Some specific outcomes have included previously non verbal children speaking for the first time and parents noticing their children are much more likely to engage in other physical and social activities they were formerly not able to manage, such as riding a bicycle.

About MovementWorks®

MovementWorks is a groundbreaking practice-based research organisation advocating the importance of movement for optimal child development. Drawing on educational theory, therapeutic practice and dance science, MovementWorks provides dance-movement education programmes and events that support early years and SEND educators, children and their families with researched movement practice.

MovementWorks has been supported by the Royal Society of Arts recognized as project having “real world impact” and cited by the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Arts, Health and Well Being. MovementWorks is currently partnered with Greenwich University in leading a new study on the impact of our work for children with ASD.

As Creative Director together with Ms Lara, Founder of Autism Movement Therapy we have recently presented our research at the worldwide Movement and Cognition Conference at HARVARD University. To support our in-school intervention programmes “MovementWorks” is proud to announce a new community outreach initiative starting with a new Autism Movement Therapy® Class 4.15 -5.00pm Friday’s Term Time @ The Studio Chislehurst High Street BR7 5AG Click here for details

As featured on London Live Television The class will be led by Ali Golding, MSc, PG Cert SEN, FRSA and certified colleagues of MovementWorks (London, UK). In Autism Movement Therapy® students will practice techniques that support individuals with autism through a structured movement and music method.

About Autism Movement Therapy Method ®Waking Up The Brain!

AMT is a unique program that supports individuals with autism using music and independent movement to strengthen the body and brain connection. By incorporating movement and music in collaboration with Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) strategies AMT® has individuals meeting and achieving their speech and language, social and academic goals.

“When I saw you on Twitter, and started to read about the dance/autism interface in your research I was jumping for joy – if I hadn’t seen the transformative (and measurable) effect on my son for myself I wouldn’t have believed dance would be such an effective tool for communication and therapy. I genuinely believe that practising dance steps, and responding to music, has actually rewired his brain.” L. James

For more information on the programmes or training workshops go to:

For all U.K enquiries contact

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Marie Gorton receives a standing ovation at The Hilton – IARA Awards

Marie Gorton receives a standing ovation at The Hilton – IARA Awards

At the weekend Anna Kennedy OBE attended the prestigious IARA Awards at The Hilton Canary Wharf which is an event that highlight outstanding talents, laudable initiatives and recognise the hard work of those in Theatre, Music, Film/TV and the Fashion industry.

In 2016 Anna Kennedy OBE was presented with the IARA Humanatarian Award for her work in raising awareness and acceptance on autism.

The IARA was founded in 2014 by Helen Imuaphe who aims at celebrating artists across the Art and Entertainment industry; for Excellence, Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, and Innovations.

IARA, acknowledges role models who have excelled within their respective industries and have put foundation in place for continued success and expansion.

Hosting the event was Gail Porter and Steve King. Anna Kennedy Autism Advocate was proud to present one of her Autism’s got Talent Performers Marie Gorton who added a touch of class to the event by singing ‘Ideale’ by Tosti. Marie blew everyone away and received a standing ovation.

Anna also received the ‘Special Recognition Award on behalf of the Granchester actress Kacey Ainsworth who is one of her Charity Patrons. Kacey has a family member that has an autistic spectrum condition.

Kacey Ainsworth posted on social media: ‘Thank you all sorry I could not be there my schools fundraiser for which I was one of the organisers was on the same day so gutted not to have been there thank you I am steered and guided by Anna Kennedy and everyone who works with her we keep pushing forward … ‘

Top Croydon editor nominated for charity’s prestigious award

Top Croydon editor nominated for charity’s prestigious award


Steven Downes, the editor of Inside Croydon, has been nominated for a prestigious award for this website’s campaigning journalism over the provision, or lack of it, for young Croydon residents with autism and special educational needs.

Anna Kennedy Online, the leading autism charity, has announced the short lists for its 2018 Autism Hero Awards, which are due to be announced at a gala ceremony in central London on October 13. Among the 12 award categories is “Top Journalist”, with Downes listed for his coverage of the struggles of multiple families to get Croydon Council, and other agencies, to provide them with the appropriate care and support which, very often, they are entitled to by law.

Anna Kennedy Online is the web arm of a charity network established by the mum from Middlesbrough who, with her husband, remortgaged their home to raise funds to open a school for children with special educational needs. The charity has since extended its support for children through two schools, a college and a respite home.

Anna Kennedy was made OBE in 2012 for her work. “Announcing the 2018 Anna Kennedy Online Autism Hero Awards shortlists, Kennedy said, “Together with my team we want to celebrate the forgotten heroes that go the extra mile and make life changing steps that impact and improve the quality of life for autistic individuals and the lives of their families.”

Inside Croydon’s coverage of the often absent SEND provision includes our recent report on how Croydon Council is breaking the law by failing to provide adequate and coherent advice and information on its Local Offer website.

In the midst of reporting on Croydon’s failing Children’s Services, we also exposed how Croydon Council’s Autism Board, a statutory body, failed to hold any meetings for nine months – possibly because its chair, a councillor, was too busy seeking re-selection to stand in the local elections.

Inside Croydon has regularly provided a platform for parents and carers of young people on the autism spectrum to air their views – and their plaintive pleas for help.

In one case, we detailed the battle of one family to secure the support they were entitled to by law, but which was deliberately frustrated by council officials for three yearsInside Croydon has also documented the all-too-regular failings of the local authority, as it has received repeated damning judgements by the Local Government Ombudsman, including in once case where the Ombudsman described “a catalogue of unacceptable failings by London Borough of Croydon, which has left a family stretched to breaking point”.

Today, Steven Downes said, “I am flattered and humbled even to be considered for this award.

“After all, I have simply done what any journalist would try to do: finding and telling important human stories, of local families who have been ill-served by the very people that are supposed to be there to help them.

“I’d like to thank the many mums, dads and Croydon families who have had the courage to share their stories with me, so that I might better highlight the shortcomings that they have to deal with, on a daily basis.”

The Anna Kennedy Online Autism Heroes Awards celebration is taking place at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, Portman Square, on Saturday October 13. All proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Anna Kennedy Online charity to continue its dynamic work in raising Autism awareness within society.

Tickets are available to buy by clicking here.

Our partners offering the Autism Reality Experience to Croydon community

Our partners offering the Autism Reality Experience to Croydon community

Anna Kennedy Online partners Training2Care continue to raise Autism Awareness and will be present at Sanderstead Community Day on Saturday 29th September from 11am click here for details.

This Autism reality experience will give you an opportunity to real time experience and perceptions of what it is like to have autism and a real time sensory overload, which provides everyone a better understanding of Autism through this revolutionary invention.

Training2Care are the originators of the “Autism Reality Experience”. This state-of-the-art innovation is an enclosed immersive mobile unit kitted out with specialist equipment to provide a simulated environment using the latest technology.

The Autism Reality Experience is suitable for everyone including families and professionals and this can be booked directly through Training2Care, for more details click here.