2019 Autisms Got Talent performers announced!!!

2019 Autisms Got Talent performers announced!!!

Drum Roll ..……the wait is finally over!
Announcing our Autism’s Got Talent performers for 2019!!


Pineapple Performing Arts





Eagle Swan






Tom Loveless
& Emily Leeves







Thank you to our sponsors for supporting Autism’s Got Talent 2019 
Acts will be travelling from all over the world, which not only proves how popular Autism’s Got Talent is becoming, but how important a platform such as this one is to those on the spectrum.
“It is extremely important that people with autism have an outlet. Autism’s Got Talent is a safe and secure environment where those who want to, can express and perform without fear of being judged or criticised. Autism’s Got Talent is one of a kind, and is extremely poignant to those with autism and their families. Those involved can have fun, do what they love, make friends and be themselves, and have one night which is all about them.”
Autism’s Got Talent, which is a red carpet event, is a celebration of everyone on the autism spectrum.
Everyone in attendance will be guests of honour and treated like VIPs. 
If you would like to attend click here for tickets.  

About Autism’s Got Talent

With the success of previous years, and after popular demand, Autism’s Got Talent is returning to The Mermaid Theatre on 4th May 2019. Created by Anna Kennedy OBE,  her UK autism charity Anna Kennedy Online, and supported by Pineapple Performing Arts School.

As ever, it’s been such a difficult job selecting the final acts for 4th May to perform at Mermaid Theatre London.

Doors open at 6.00 pm We love to showcase a huge variety of performers that are out there and this year is no exception.  

We have singers, dancers, harpist to name a few.  In previous years we have had a stand-up performer, young author, acclaimed ballet dancer, opera singers and all the talent entries were totally mind blowing and we have included in previous acts from overseas Sweden, Croatia, USA, Canada and across the UK. Autism’s Got Talent showcases the diverse and superb talents of people on the autistic spectrum.

Anna Kennedy and her team discusses the perceptions that Autism’s Got Talent is changing:

“It is all too often said that people with disabilities are not capable of very much, and they are unable to rise about the challenges that they are faced. Autism’s Got Talent is a platform for talented individuals with autism to wow the audience and show off their skills and talents. We not only have soloists, but people also perform in groups, which is something many people are quick to judge as impossible for those on the spectrum. Not only are these talented, amazing individuals proving their critics wrong, they are also having fun and achieving so much!”

2019 will continue boasting a variety of talent from people of all ages, including singers, musicians, dancers and more.

Many acts are those who sat in the audience last year, and were given the confidence to perform themselves.

Click here to watch the highlights from previous years, prepare to be blown away!

Sponsored by

Quantum Leap Mentoring – Peer Mentoring for Bright Kids with ASD and Learning Differences

Quantum Leap Mentoring – Peer Mentoring for Bright Kids with ASD and Learning Differences

My name is Siena. I am a 16 year old neurodiversity advocate and anti-bullying campaigner. I know how challenging it is to be a student with special educational needs. I am autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and have ADHD.

Being different and standing out from the crowd is isolating, especially when those around us can’t understand the daily struggles that we face. Although, there are lots of support websites for the parents of children with learning differences, there are no websites to mentor and support us. I find this odd, since we are the ones that have to deal with the daily reality of having learning differences. I decided to change this by creating a website called www.QLMentoring.com that is especially designed to support students with learning differences and autistic students.

I have had lots of negative experiences because of my learning differences, including being bullied at school for most of my childhood. Along the way, I have learned how to succeed despite the obstacles I have faced. I am finally happy and doing well academically and socially. By sharing my experiences and the knowledge I have gained along the way, I hope to help kids like me have a smoother school experience. One my website, students will find the tips and tricks I have used to succeed in school. I also provide practical information about how to overcome some of the social and academic obstacles that students with special educational needs frequently face.

In order to change negative perceptions about learning differences and autism, I recently created a school campaign to promote positive attitudes and behaviours towards neurodiverse students. My campaign – www.neurodiversity-celebration-week.com – aims to have EVERY school in the UK sign up to participate in Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a week in which the strengths of being neurodiverse are recognised and acknowledged.

Please become a change-maker by being part of my campaign. Ask your school to support their dyslexic, dyspraxic, autistic and ADHD students by taking part in Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

Who the service provides for: All students are eligible including primary schools, secondary schools and colleges.

Email address: Siena@QLMentoring.com

Alessandra talks Autism, Nutrition and Chocolate

Alessandra talks Autism, Nutrition and Chocolate

Anna Kennedy OBE guest this week on her regular ‘All Things Autism’ Womens Radio Show is Alessandra Bester Founder of Team No No.
Anna met Aless many years ago then their paths crossed again at AnnaKennedyonline’s Charity Autism Expo at Brunel University.

Alessandra shared the progress made with her son Ethan and how her company is progressing supporting adults on the autism spectrum in the work place.

Alessandra shared: 

Once there was a boy. He had Autism, Epilepsy, Allergies, Coeliac and he would say Nono to every food I offered.

He was very unwell most of his life and eating was always a struggle.

Once day I got him a beautiful friend, Cocoa, chocolate labradoodle. She was his Autism Assistance Dog and it was a life changing.

He loves cocoa and learned to trust everything that was brown like Cocoa, so I have developed chocolates with additional nutrition, vitamins and minerals to keep him well. We call the chocolates ‘Nono Coco’

The chocolate making opened more opportunities for us and I set up Functional Food Co, to help people like us to have better choices in the Free-From market.

Since my son was so involved in every step of the process, I could see the potential for him to have a future employment, taking on range of simple tasks that he could achieve despite sever autism.

It was a natural progression to offer work opportunity to young people to make the way.

Now we are working with Leighton Collage at Elfrida Rathbone Camden providing range of different work experience opportunities.
Every day we are learning how to better accommodate someone on the spectrum at work to help them thrive. We are a #teamnono ‘we create our own future’ We say No!  No to gluten No to nuts, No to Dairy No to Egg No to Yeast & No again to Sulphides, Artificial Colouring, GMO & Preservatives, No Refined Sugar, No Cholesterol and finally, No to compromise on quality & taste!

We also say Nono to everything that we belie in: Nono to exclusion, discrimination, bulling, sexism and we like to lead by example and inspire others to be more inclusive.

You can support us and help us to continue our work, by simply trying our chocolates, go online and send someone a gift, sharing our story with your friends, follow us online, subscribe to our newsletter to be update on our progress and inspired.

Every item sold helps us grown.

You can be part of the journey.
There is no better time to share our gifts than Valentines and Mother’s Day or Birthday.
Subscribe to our newsletter at nono-cocoa.com to be update on our progress.
Use discount ‘NEW19’ for 19% off and try our products.
Social media @nonococoauk @functionalfoodsco #teamnono

Join Alessandra at the AKO Charity Autism Expo on March 23 to learn how can we best support children with Autism who struggle with food, or children who can overeat. www.akoautismexpo.co.uk

If you missed the live interview today tune in all this week.at 1pm. www.womensradiostation.com

SEND parents of school refusers criminalised instead of supported

SEND parents of school refusers criminalised instead of supported

University researchers have discovered that most of the children of parents who’ve been fined or threatened with a fine over school “truancy”, have SEND or mental health issues. In England and Wales, in 2017, ten parents were jailed for the offence of truancy, for not ensuring their child(ren) are regularly in school. Nine of them were women.

SEND parents reading this will not be at all surprised at the results of this survey, even though it’s only of relatively small size. But researcher, Rona Epstein, of Coventry University’s Law School, says the results show show that that non-attendance at school should be treated as child welfare, and not a criminal justice, issue and she’s written for us about the research.

Prosecuting Parents of Children Who Have Missed School by Rona Epstein, University of Coventry, Coventry Law School,

Try as they will, some parents cannot get their children into school. You cannot force a 14 year-old out of bed, you cannot force a child into school uniform who is refusing. It’s not possible. You can imagine the stress this is causing. We need research on this

The above extract is from a letter written by an educational psychologist working with parents of children and young people, some autistic, many with a range of SEND (Special Educational Needs or Disability). It was the starting point of this research study on the prosecution of parents whose children do not attend school regularly.

In England and Wales, the offence of truancy is deemed to have been committed by parents of school age children who have not attended school regularly, missing 10% of school sessions. The offence is strict liability, which means that the prosecution does not have to prove intent to commit the crime or even that the parent was aware that the child was missing school. The punishment can be a fine up to £2,500 or a term of imprisonment.

Many children who are persistent truants/school refusers are on the autism spectrum, have SEND and are highly anxious, many have been bullied and are frightened of school. Many of the children and young people who do not attend school regularly have moderate or severe mental health problems.

Vulnerable families

Their parents, try as they might, simply cannot get their children in to school.  They are vulnerable families, some of the parents are themselves ill or disabled.  Many have received repeated fines and threats of prison. Many more parents were prosecuted (three out of four of them mothers) than you may think. In 2017 in England and Wales:

  • 16,406 people were prosecuted for truancy, of whom 11,739 (71%) were women. 
  • 12, 698 were convicted, of whom 9,413 (74%) were women.
  • 110 people were given a suspended sentence of imprisonment, 88 (80%) were women.
  • 500 were given a community order – 416 (83%) were women.  Ten people were sent to prison, nine were women. 

It is clear that women are disproportionately pursued for this offence.

Our research set out to get first-hand testimony from parents who have experience of the system. We placed online an anonymous questionnaire asking parents whose children have missed school about their child’s health, whether they had special educational needs or a disability (SEND), whether their child had been bullied, what were the circumstances of the parents and other family members, and whether or not they had been prosecuted or threatened with prosecution.

Questionnaire research

126 parents completed the questionnaire giving information on 132 children.

  • About 40% of the children were reported as on the autism spectrum.
  • Many of them had other health issues. 
  • 90% of the children had SEND or a health problem, and almost all were very anxious.
  • Some 60% of the children had been bullied in school, mostly by other children and some by school staff. 

All 126 parents in our survey reported stress and some family problems. We looked at features indicating families who were facing particular stress and difficulties: single parents, parents who are ill or disabled, those who receive carer’s allowance, indicating very severe disability in the family, having other children who are ill or disabled – 42 parents (33%). They described a number of serious difficulties which indicated that they were under particularly great stress

Bullying was an important part of the experience of many of the children in this survey – 60% of the children had been bullied: mostly by other children, but a significant number by staff. Some of the incidents of bullying described were extremely serious: for example a child punched in the stomach leading to hospital treatment for a damaged bowel. One parent reported that her child was locked in a cupboard in his special school.

Night terrors and extreme fear

The parents described their children as suffering night terrors and having extreme fear reactions when it was time for school. Some described acts of self-harm, and threats of suicide. All the parents had tried, without success, to get their children to go to school regularly. Despite their best efforts many of these parents faced threats of prosecution or had fines imposed. Many were on benefits or low incomes and found it hard to pay fines. 

A better way

Some European countries take a child-welfare rather than a criminal justice approach to the child who does not attend school regularly. In Denmark, for example, there are no criminal prosecutions for parents whose children miss school.

It is evident that the punitive approach leads to harm for parents, children and vulnerable families. It also appears to be ineffective in getting reluctant and fearful children back into the classroom. The current law is cruel and discriminatory and does not achieve its purpose of reducing the number of children who do not attend school regularly.

Our main conclusion and recommendation is therefore that the criminal law should not be applied to parents whose children do not attend school regularly. It should be a civil matter – a child welfare issue.

There are more stats and information in the report than there is room for in this article, please download and read the report here

Source: https://specialneedsjungle.com/send-parents-of-school-refusers-criminalised-instead-of-supported/

Aston Avery: ”From A Tear To Here” shares his inspiring and thought provoking journey with local schools

Aston Avery: ”From A Tear To Here” shares his inspiring and thought provoking journey with local schools

Aston Avery, 27 from Basildon Essex and Autism Ambassador for our charity has found a unique way of sharing his journey. With the help of Basildon Recording Studios, local singers the Averyettes (Jessica Richardson, Sophie Griffiths, Latalia Pickleman, Skye Stack and Rebecca Stanford) and a sponsor he has created a short film.

It documents his journey from diagnosis to date and whilst facing many challenges and knock backs and being told everything that he could not achieve he has defied odds and accomplished more than anyone could have imagined.The film incorporates a particularly poignant interview with his parents that many can truly identify with and input from himself and Anna Kennedy to build a picture of the magnitude of what he has experienced over the years and what he has overcome.

Aston is inspired by the work he has done at AKO and wanted to show others that the positive reality of never giving up and following your dreams is possible despite the challenges of Autism.The video is aimed at both primary schools and secondary. It is delivered by Aston himself accompanied either by his parents or Team Avery member. It has been incredibly successful to date.

This is beneficial not only to anyone with Autism, but also their friends, family members, LSA’a, SENCO’s in fact everyone who could benefit from a real insight to Autism.The recent talk at Northland School in Pitsea has had such great feedback another meeting has already been requested just for parents, especially as some are dealing with their children being newly diagnosed and are needing the information and support this can offer.

The talk and video presentation is delivered free of charge and can be tailored to your specific requirements. From small classes to big halls Aston aims to spread awareness wherever it is needed.Any schools interested in receiving this talk from Aston or to find out more information please contact Teamaveryessex@yahoo.com.

Month: January 2019