Introducing our new AKO Ambassador – Harvey Price

Introducing our new AKO Ambassador – Harvey Price

Welcome to the AKO family – our new AKO Ambassador Harvey Price

Harvey has fully supported our “Give Us A Break” campaign and held up a poster as he said: ‘Please don’t be horrible to Harvey.’ We are proud to announce Harvey Price as our Ambassador and welcome him to the Anna Kennedy Online family.

Harvey Price is the eldest son of Katie Price. 

Harvey is partially blind and has Autism. He also has Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that occurs in approximately one out of every 15,000 births. 

Harvey has been playing the keyboard since the age of four and was inspired to audition after watching Autism’s Got Talent earlier this year at The Mermaid Theatre in London where he performed and at the roadshows in Cornwall and Ruislip.

Harvey has made numerous telly appearances, before becoming the subject of vile social media posts that he and his mum are now trying to make a criminal offence.

Harvey deals with online bullying and trolling. He was subject to horrendous online abuse after sharing a drawing of his mum on the Gatwick Express on his Instagram page. Fans commented pleaded with Katie to remove the account to protect Harvey, but she chose not to and instead deleted the harmful comments.

On 22 January 2019, it was revealed that Parliament would back Katie’s ‘Harvey’s Law’ efforts. She started an online petition in March 2017 to criminalise social media trolling, after Harvey suffered at the hands of Instagram trolls.

We are selling Charity Christmas cards designed by Patrick Steele-Bodger and our Ambassador Harvey Price, each pack contains ten assorted Christmas cards. Click here to buy yours!

Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio – Bernadette O’Donnell

Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio – Bernadette O’Donnell

​Anna Kennedy OBE’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ Womens Radio Station was Bernadette O’Donnell

​I am Bernadette O’Donnell. I was born in South London. My parents are Irish and I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. When I was 5 we moved to Clacton-on-sea. I grew up in a very close Catholic community.

I moved to West London in 1995, met Yohan, we were married in 1998.

We have 2 boys, Kieran 17 and Daniel nearly 16 and we are ‘living the dream!’.

Kieran was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years and 7 months. Because he wasn’t baby babbling at 18 months we took him to the health visitor, she referred him to a SLT who in turn referred him to a Pediatric Consultant who diagnosed him with Autism. I still can’t believe it!

I think if I had had Daniel first I might have picked up that he was developing differently to other children.

We weren’t given any guidance or support. The specialist health visitor was very clear about all the things we couldn’t do which made me more determined.  I had to make sure both my boys had a childhood.

We have to do everything differently; every detail has to be planned for but we do what everyone else does. We have been to Florida, Canada, New York, France, Ireland. It was important to me that Daniel didn’t miss out. I do feel guilty that he wasn’t able to go to lots of his school activates because Kieran couldn’t tolerate it but I did my best.

Kieran developed some very extreme behaviors when he was 10, scratching, biting, head-butting me, and hurting himself. We got an appointment with a psychiatrist who eventually prescribed medication to manage behavior and anxiety. She was reluctant because of Kierans long term mental health but I was concerned about Daniels long term mental health too. He was 9 years old and recording his brother whom he loved, attacking his Mother who he loved so that I would have evidence.

I worry about the siblings, when Kieran would have a meltdown in public I| would have to sit on the ground and hold him and calm him, and whilst the entire public stared at Kieran and I they also stared at a little boy who is the collateral damage of autism.

I have huge concerns about the sibling.  If Kieran didn’t sleep, Daniel didn’t sleep and whilst Kieran’s school would understand, Daniel’s teachers could just think he’s lazy or not interested. Kieran’s autism has left Daniel shy and lacking in self-confidence because being the center of attention has always been a very negative experience.

Kieran and Daniel are very close, Daniel is a brilliant brother to Kieran, he always has been. I know when they are adults Daniel will always look out for him. I have been clear, he’s not his keeper, he’s his brother. I am very lucky with my boys.

Kieran can be very aggressive but this is how he communicates his frustration, with limited verbal communication life can be very difficult for him, saying that he is just the most wonderful child. He has brought us so much joy. He never judges anyone, all he wants to do is sing and dance and eat. The world would be a better place if we all lived life by Kierans rules.

Having a child with autism is a constant battle. You have to fight with consultants, clinicians, schools, social services, the local authority. They turn you into this ferocious beast because they just don’t listen. We are so tired and we just want what is best for our children and it’s almost as though we have to beg for our children basic rights. It’s so wrong.

Being the parent of a child with autism can be very isolating, you don’t get to meet the other parents at the school gates or at school functions. It can be really lonely. I am lucky becaue Daniel is in mainstream and I have made a lot of friends through his school. If you have a friend with a speacil needs child, keep an eye on them. I am often trapped in the house in the holidays because there is no where for me to take Kieran, I can’t take him out on my own anymore. I am very lucky because my friends call in to me and make sure I am okay, it’s so important. It’s the difference between staying afloat and drowning.

In 2016 I was part of a parent group who fought Ealing Council to continue to provide overnight respite. Ealing Council were under the impression that they didn’t have any families who needed overnight respite and tasked us to find them and find them we did. We were awarded £1.5 m to build a purpose built new facility which is due to open in April 2020, it’s 12 monthe behind schedule but at least we will have our own facility. Kieran goes to overnight respite in Hounslow. I thought I would never let him go and that we didn’t need it. But the truth is he loves it and we are grateful for the time, we get to sleep and do activities with Daniel that we couldn’t, like going to the cinema.

I did work in the NHS for 25 years, mainly in GP Computerisation and then Emergency Planning, I had to give up working full time because Kieran needs me and now I work in a primary school as a Learning Support Assistant, working with a child with autism.

I often feel that I had lost my identity when I had to stop working because it was the only part of me that was mine. But I love working in the school. The financial loss is considerable but Kieran needs me to be there for him, he will never out grow me, my very own Peter Pan.

If I had to give advice to a parent whose child had just been diagnosed, it would be to love them. Find out everything you can and trust your instinct.

It’s not the end, it’s the beginning. You have been given an extraordinary child and you are about to become an extraordinary parent.

It’s really important to look after yourself and not get lost in all of this . I have an amazing group of friends who keep an eye on me. I always have something to look forward to and I write poetry. I have a page on Facebook for autism https://www.facebook.com/AutismAParentsAdvocate/ and a page on Facebook for my poetry https://www.facebook.com/CelticWhispersPoetry and you can find me on You Tube – Bernadettte Guneratne Autsim… Step by Step…

If you missed Bernadette it will be repeated everyday this week at 1pm for the rest of the week: www.womensradiostation.com

The Autism Hero Awards 2019

The Autism Hero Awards 2019

On Saturday 9th November Anna Kennedy Online celebrated its 4th Autism Hero Awards event that took place at the outstanding Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London.

What is the Autism Hero Awards?

The Autism Hero Awards was handed over to Anna Kennedy OBE by its founder Jo Kirton Salmon three years ago where Anna presented the awards for Wales. Jo wanted to hand over the awards to Anna, so she could expand the event and share the event across the UK.

Anna and her team from Anna Kennedy Online wanted to create an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the excellence taking place in the world of Autism. This is a unique way to celebrate and showcase accomplishments as well as enhancing Autism awareness and acceptance.

Anna Kennedy OBE shared “Every year, we seek to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals, teams and organisations who have proved excellence, dedication and commitments to impacting lives that have been making a real difference in the world of autism.” This honourable occasion was a unique opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals, teams and organisations who have proved excellence, dedication and commitments to impacting lives that have been making a real difference.

Winners were chosen by a panel of distinguished judges who were Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Kacey Ainsworth, Glen Knight, Jo Luck, Chris Bonnello, Frank Khalid and Marianna Dean​.Amongst the room full of heroes, there were celebrities present which included Kacey Ainsworth, Dr Pam Spurr and Danielle Mason.

The winners were all presented with their awards by sponsors, celebrities and judges.

The judges shared their experiences on how tough it was to make their choices as they read such compelling concise biographies of the individuals whom were nominated that not only impacted people’s lives and making positive changes selflessly.

Dr Anna Kennedy OBE said: “The Autism Hero Awards recognise the extraordinary achievements of people that show dedication, commitment and courage of all the nominees and winners is inspirational. The awards are a great way to celebrate these accomplishments and unforgotten heroes and what life changing impacts are made on people’s lives”.

On the night

The evening celebrations commenced with a red-carpet welcome drink on arrival, a delicious three-course meal, followed by special announcements, the announcements of the winners which were followed by a DJ, entertainment to celebrate every finalist.

Pineapple Performing Arts opened the evening with an outstanding dance routine, there were two amazing singers Daniel Docherty our charity ambassador and Liam Burgess who are performers at Autism’s Got Talent star and once again received a standing ovation.

The evening was a huge success with emotions and gratitude hearing the obstacles and successes of each finalist through sheer determination and dedication.

The winners

The evening was a huge success with emotions and gratitude hearing the obstacles and successes of each finalist through sheer determination and dedication.

The audience felt humbled and honoured to share such an amazing evening and realisation that nothing is impossible, and the audience were overwhelmed to experience very emotional life experiences.

All the finalists were sensational people in society and the Autism world who will continue to rock the world. The winners of the Autism Hero Winners 2019 are:

  • Outstanding Education Award – Joel Mellor
  • Sibling of the Year Award – Seray Marius
  • Creative Arts and Media Award – Noah Loo
  • Lifetime Achiever Award – Tanya Philips
  • Young Person of the Year Award  – Jayden Worthington and Morgan Smith
  • Outstanding Community Award – Jane Lord
  • Peoples Autism Hero Award – Richie Smith
  • Parent/Carer Award – Kenny Elvin
  • Personal Achievement Award – Charlotte Banfield
  • Leading Business Award – Portland College
  • Online Social Network Award – Laura Price
  • Entrepreneurial Award – Rebecca Taylor 
  • Special Recognition Award – Leo Andrade
  • Charity Volunteer of the Year – Coral Kennedy

More details on each winner to follow soon!

I am now The people’s autism hero.

I honestly can’t believe it, i am like totally blown away has been the hardest and most emotional weekend ever. Thank you so so much Suzanne Mccue for coming to support me as i totally broke down on the stage speech as i was taken away i would have never dreamed i would min the main award of the evening. Even thinking about i am still crying now as i right this post as it means the world to me and i never thought i would be where i am today’s. Autism is awesome and i love it.

Cant believe i won the award ( The people’s autism hero award. ) and also finalist as a entrepreneurial. Was the only person in two awards.

Thank you so so much to the @autism hero Awards and Annakennedyonline for giving me this award. But also a massive thank you to all of you guys as i received the 100s of nominations without even knowing. Without you guys I couldn’t keep going and am super grateful as i told my self no one will care about you and you will not ever win. I do this to my self so i project my self and feelings but even tho i speak to people every day, this was the most emotional heart breaking evening of my life.

The train down i lost my suit and didn’t remember till we where in London, we had to then go buy a new one as didn’t know what Elsa to do. Then got soaked and then finally got to the hotel. After a little down time we went to the awards and i was totally blown away I won the award. For a long time I always felt i am a no one but last night showed i mean something to some people.

Last night was the first time for that moment I didn’t feel worthless i felt like i was finally ok to be me. This award as given me more than you can ever give someone. Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart you are all Awesometistic and i promise i will not stop helping and voicing as long as i have you guys i will always do my best

Richie Smith

I wanted to attend the Autism Hero Awards, and I am so glad I did. The awards celebrated siblings, parents and guardians, businesses, teachers, and autistic individuals. I sat in a room filled with people that fight for autistic people. I heard stories of those with the greatest of empathy for the affect autism has.

To hear of siblings, like my brother, who stand by their siblings as they fight through life. The awards are run by Anna Kennedy who has championed autism for many years as her two sons are autistic.

The charity, Anna Kennedy Online, does incredible things for those who are autistic and their families, raising awareness and supporting us.

Rosie Weldon

Had such an incredible night last night with such amazing people at the “Autism Hero Awards” catching up with such wonderful people who I’ve missed so much.

Thank you so much to the amazing Anna Kennedy and the rest of the AKO Team for putting all this together. Plus well done to the outstanding Daniel Docherty for performing last night you were amazing as always mate can’t wait to catch up again with you and everyone soon

Macauley Elvin

With all these continuous and very exciting developments of the charity, it is fundamental in raising Autism awareness with remarkable advocates on board as the positive way to reach out to the wider audiences and empower them with knowledge and strength.

All proceeds for the evening were donated to the Anna Kennedy Online Charity to continue its dynamic work in raising Autism awareness within society.

Congratulations to our Autism Heroes 2019!

Congratulations to our Autism Heroes 2019!

On Saturday 9th November 2019 at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London, Anna Kennedy Online hosted The Autism Hero Awards – a privilege to be in a room full of heroes!

Congratulations to our winners of the Autism Hero Awards 2019!!!

Outstanding Education Award – Joel Mellor

Sibling of the Year Award – Seray Marius

Creative Arts and Media Award – Noah Loo

Lifetime Achiever Award – Tanya Philips

Young Person of the Year Award  – Jayden Worthington and Morgan Smith

Outstanding Community Award – Jane Lord

Peoples Autism Hero Award – Richie Smith

Parent/Carer Award – Kenny Elvin

Personal Achievement Award – Charlotte Banfield

Leading Business Award – Portland College

Online Social Network Award – Laura Price

Entrepreneurial Award – Rebecca Taylor

Special Recognition Award – Leo Andrade

Charity Volunteer of the Year – Coral Kennedy

Anna Kennedy Online: Our Give Us A Break campaign – 2019

Anna Kennedy Online: Our Give Us A Break campaign – 2019

“Give Us A Break!” Anti Bullying campaign

 

Anti bullying week 2019 is Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November

​Many autistic children have gone back to school this week. Anna Kennedy OBE founder of a national autism charity has been contacted by parents where their children are refusing to go to school because of bullying at such an early stage of this academic year.

Anna shares : ‘Schools must take action so that children with autism feel safe in lessons and at break times. Autistic children are seen by their parents and carers as vulnerable to bullying.’Give us a Break’ is Anna Kennedy Online anti bullying campaign. She calls on all schools and colleges to be particularly aware of the bullying that autistic students experience at break times and to provide positive activities that keep them safe.

Many autistic students need ‘structured activities’ which are currently seriously lacking at break times in schools. Many parents and carers said they would embrace positive activities as a constructive way of combating the bullying of their children. “For children and young people with autism, break and lunch times in schools and colleges can be particularly daunting and can put them at risk of bullying.”

Join us and support our campaign

If you would like to spread the word of our Give Us A Break campaign please download the posters below print off, please take a photograph of yourself and click here to email it to us, so we can share your support and let us make a change – together we are stronger!

Click here to download a Give Us A Break Poster – in light colour

Click here to download a Give Us A Break Poster – in dark colour

Anna Kennedy Online the UK Charity is to continue and raise awareness of bullying of children with autism in schools and colleges. ‘Too often these children are seen as the problem; as not ‘fitting in’ or ‘settling down.We want to see all schools take decisive action to create environments and cultures where all children feel safe and supported without fear of bullying’ Anna Kennedy shares ‘Autistic children should not be allowed to coast along without appropriate support until anxieties become so great that it leads to challenging behaviour both at home and school. Training is key.’ 

#autism #giveusabreak#antibullying #schools

‘Give us a Break!’ Anti Bullying Campaign – supporters taking action:

Introducing #GUAB Give Us A Break 2019 Anti-bullying campaign: Spectrum Complete – FMA + 12 Gage

FMA + 12 Gage are a father and son rap duo who use their music to combat their mental health issues.

The pair are made up of Matthew Bennett who is now 40 years old and Callum Gage Bennett who is 21.

Matthew was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 36 and Callum was diagnosed with Dyslexia at 16.

They have been performing together for the past six years and began working together as a way of helping Callum’s confidence which in turn, helped Callum to overcome a stutter that he used to suffer from.

They released their debut album, Parental Advisory, in October 2018 to much acclaim.

“The father and son of unholy flows spit with a unique, roughly-hewn, Prestonian intensity” Tom O’Boyle – Metal Hammer In 2017 they were invited to perform at the charity showcase event, Autism’s Got Talent, where they met Anna Kennedy.

It was here that Matthew first experienced a truly welcoming and accepting environment. He had this to say about his time there – “Being autistic is a very lonely experience – you see, hear and feel things differently to others, which makes it hard to connect with people.

Autism’s Got Talent is a place where that loneliness did not exist. It was such a comfortable, understanding and welcoming environment. We met so many amazing and talented people and had far more fun than we ever expected to.

Anna has managed to create something that both shows the talents of those on the spectrum as well as showing those same people that they’re not alone in this world.”

In 2019, Anna Kennedy approached the pair with an idea to create a song for the ‘Give Us A Break’ anti bullying campaign. Matthew and Callum both jumped at the chance of being able to help other people through using their music.

​After two months of hard work, trial and error, frustration and many scrapped ideas, Spectrum was finally born.

Callum drew upon his experiences of dealing with an abusive, bullying step parent when he was younger and Matthew looked to his early life and struggles with addiction and isolation as sources of inspiration.

Both vocalists stepped out of their comfort zone to deliver a softer more emotional song than the ones that they normally create.

The song is built around a message of hope, and in turn, FMA + 12 Gage hope that it connects with those who are struggling like they once were.

Callum drew upon his experiences of dealing with an abusive, bullying step parent when he was younger and Matthew looked to his early life and struggles with addiction and isolation as sources of inspiration.

Both vocalists stepped out of their comfort zone to deliver a softer more emotional song than the ones that they normally create.

Please watch this powerful video

No matter the difficulties the pair went through to create the song, two months of hard work pales in comparison to letting someone know that they are not alone.

FMA + 12 Gage would like to thank both Anna Kennedy and the ‘Give Us A Break’ campaign for giving them this opportunity.

Follow FMA + 12 Gage on all social media @FMA12Gage

To read more about Matthew and Callum’s journey click here

Introducing #GUAB Give Us A Break 2019 Anti-bullying campaign: Born Anxious

Born anxious supply label free sensory clothing for children and adults with sensory needs such as Autism, SPD sensory processing disorders, all clothing, T-shirts and bags are 100% organic and all come printed with subtle reminders, to be kind to others because we are not all the same.

Kellie Barker creator of Bornanxious and Anna Kennedy OBE ,founder of UK Autism Charity Annakennedyonline and #Giveusabreak campaign. #GUAB #GiveUsABreak!

This campaign has been organised by the charity and run during Anti-bullying week for the last number of years by the charity Anna Kennedy online, it has grown in success and support for its following.

Bullying effects thousands and thousands of adults and children every year.

Anti bullying week is Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November.

The collection can be found – follow this link: https://www.bornanxious.co.uk/born-anxious-collection/give-us-a-break-8lmab

Children like Sophia.

Sophia Owens is 11 years old and from Rushde, Northamptonshire, she has been singing and dancing from a young age.

She has performed at her majesty’s theatre. And Sadler’s wells and has also competed in National finals at the Winter gardens in Blackpool. Sophia has two elder brothers, both diagnosed on the spectrum and attends a special school.

Sophia also performed a live stage dance at Autism’s got talent and won a scholarship through the charity at Pineapple Performing Arts.

Sophia Owens #GUAB anti bullying campaign #giveusabreak #AnnaKennedyonline #antibullyingweek2019 @Annakennedy1

The Give Us A Break campaign with Anna Kennedy call on all schools, colleges, work places and social events to join the #GUAB campaign and help to make a real change to the lives of all  people effected, including people with Autism and other neurological and physical disabilities, by helping people to have the courage to speak up and understand that it is NOT OK to bully in any form.

Anna Kennedy Online is dedicated to providing Autism awareness,acceptance, training and understanding to both schools, colleges and within the community to help create a better environment so that all our children can thrive.

‪#GUAB #antibullyingweek #giveusabreak

Our other campaigns include:

#Togetherweareacommunity – Click here for more details of our Autism and cultural issues campaign

#AutismDanceDay- Click here for more details of our Step in the Right Direction Autism Dance Day campaign

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Month: November 2019