Lucy, the daughter of Andi, one of our Charity Champions, is participating in a sponsored 5K walk to raise funds for the Anna Kennedy Online charity and the Autism Allotments project, of which Anna is a patron.

Lucy has been diagnosed with autism along with other medical conditions and invisible disabilities. Despite her challenges, she has a kind-hearted nature and aims to support other children through her project.

If you are interested in sponsoring Lucy, please visit the GoFundMe page through the following link:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/8k37yx-lucys-sponsored-walk

Anna talks All Things Autism in Essex with Aston Avery – May 2024

 

Autism show – May 2024

 

Autism show – May 2024

The month of May saw All Things Autism in Essex return on the week of Mental Health Awareness Week. Aston was joined by regular contributor Anna Kennedy OBE, founder of autism charity Annakennedyonline as they spoke to great guests and reflect on mental health within in the autism community.

The first of Aston and Anna’s guests was Dez Loveartpix.

The second of Aston and Anna’s guests was Sean Kennedy.

The third of Aston and Anna’s guests was author Georgina Durrant from The SEN Resource Learning.

Anna had this to say after the show:

“Another busy show with some fantastic guests talking ‘All things Autism in Essex ‘ with Aston and I.

Our first guest was Dez founder of ‘LoveArtPix’. A creative award winning self taught Autistic Artist. Dez was also one of our Charity Autism Hero Award Winners and has supported our charity AnnaKennedyonline in the past.

 

Dez spoke to us about is upcoming documentary that is in production and since it is Mental Health Awareness Week he gave some useful tips and advice on how art has helped him through his own personal struggles.

Our second guest was my husband Sean Kennedy supporter of our charity and co founder of Talem Law. Sean spoke about the ‘Stop and Search’ document for autistic individuals.

 

Last week AnnaKennedyonline won the Metropolitan Police Community Contribution Award and the Overall Winner of the Inclusion Diversity Equality Awards for 2024!

Sean , Detective Superintendent Dion Brown and I were invited on stage to receive the award. The event took place at The Magic Circle London. Sean speaks on Gateway in greater detail about this useful resource.

 

Our last guest was Georgina Durrant Author of her new book  ‘SEND Strategies for the Primary Years ‘ available very soon. Georgina has been a past guest on Gateway Radio talking about her award winning ‘The SEN Resources Blog’ and books.

Georgina was a former a teacher and SENDCo Her book is available to pre order on Bloomsbury.com and get 35% off with DURRANT35 until 6th June.

Aston and I also spoke about Mental Health Awareness Week and I shared the NHS Link with lots of useful information on where to get help.

https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/mental-health-services/

 

Wishing you all a lovely month of May. I will be back in June with more great guests.

Next week I am off to Buckingham Palace for the Kings Garden Party!

Stay safe and well

 

Anna x”

All Things Autism in Essex will return soon.

Autistics and Literal thinking – Time

Article by loveartpix

 

I wanted to create a short blog to help people understand the importance of how time keeping can really impact autistic individuals like myself. I find myself having to repeat myself over and over which can be triggering in itself. Of course i understand people are busy – unfortunately that’s the world we live in now – but i feel it’s not an excuse to not drop a short text/email which takes a minute to inform if running late.

I hope the following reiterates what I have been explaining for years to people and can possibly help others who maybe struggle and have the same issues.

For individuals on the autism spectrum, the impact of unmet promises, such as missing a scheduled call time, can be profound. This discrepancy between what was expected and what actually happens can trigger heightened levels of stress, frustration, and potentially lead to meltdowns. This reaction is often rooted in tendency towards literal thinking and a strong reliance on routines and predictability.

Acknowledgement or confirmation, through a simple text or email, is just as crucial for autistic individuals. The lack of communication regarding delays or changes in plans can also lead to heightened stress and frustration and trigger meltdowns.

For someone with autism, the ability to comprehend and anticipate social cues and changes can be really challenging. Therefore, when a promised action – like receiving a call at a specific time – is not fulfilled, it can cause massive distress. This distress may stem from a hyper focussed expectation that the promised event will occur precisely as stated, highlighting the importance of consistency and clear communication in interactions with autistic individuals.

The concept of time holds a major significance for many autistic individuals. Strict adherence to schedules and routines can sometimes become a focal point, with individuals fixating on specific times and events. This hyperfocus on time management can impact daily functioning, attention span, and ability to transition between tasks smoothly.

Repeated disappointments in time management, especially if they lead to frequent meltdowns, can have lasting effects on an individual with autism. These ongoing letdowns can result in feelings of distress, helplessness, and a sense of being misunderstood or disregarded. Over time, these experiences could potentially contribute to the development of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), particularly if they struggle with regulating emotions and coping with daily stressors.

The compounded impact of missed expectations and stress related to time management can be particularly challenging for autistic individuals due to their unique communication and sensory processing differences. The inherent difficulties they face in understanding and engaging in social interactions can be further exacerbated by disruptions in routines or unmet expectations regarding time. This combination of factors can make it harder for autistic individuals to manage and recover from such experiences, potentially leading to more intense emotional responses and increased vulnerability to conditions like CPTSD.

ART; Chronicles of Order

Vulnerable amongst a whirlwind of time and numbers showing how patterns and routines reign supreme.

In my vulnerable state I wanted to show the raw honesty and nature of how the autism experience is for me. Surrounded by chaotic numbers and clocks looking trapped, liberated and controlled by time itself.

Through chaos and order I hoped to show the unique perspective of the world and how structure, focus and time play such an important role.

 

 

Dez (loveartpix) was one of our Charity Autism Hero Awards Winners

Nominate your Autism Hero for 2025

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Mental Health Awareness Week – an article by Kieron Lee

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I am writing this article for Anna Kennedy Online, to raise the much-needed awareness for Mental Health, this week, and every week. It is no secret that I have a diagnosis of Autism, ADHD as well as a Mixed Anxiety and Depressive disorder. You can imagine, that managing all of these is extremely difficult.

 

For years I have struggled with severe mental health issues; in 2018 I attempted suicide by taking an overdose, there have been similar events like this before. At the time I felt empty yet full of emotions that I just could not bear, I would describe autism and emotions like “Superman and Kryptonite;” emotions are my Kryptonite. I often question and have never quite understood the reasoning behind my sometimes-erratic response to events that have occurred throughout my life.

 

The way I feel is often overwhelming, I have strong feelings that lead to me being very emotional, almost like an empath is how I would describe it. Sometimes the world just gets too much, and I just need to come off it for a bit.

 

In times when I feel so low, I have my mother, who has honestly been my biggest supporter, critique, best friend, and rock that constantly holds me to the ground when I lose a sense of gravity. I have a lot of friends and even family that weren’t/are not lucky enough to have the relationship with their mum that I do with mine, and I will forever be so lucky for that.

 

Weeks when I do not feel so great you best believe I am able to write the best lyrical content, the ability to do that makes me feel so much lighter. I often “meditate” with the piano and a beautiful chord progression which is so soothing for the mind. Also, getting stuck into coursework really helps! But it is honestly, the love for music and the people that I am so lucky to have around me that keeps me strong.

 

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I met the wonderful Anna and team back in 2016 whilst we were working on our superb charity album “Building Bridges”, which was a significant and memorable time in my life. Since then, I have continued to support and work with the charity.

 

Anna and all the team have played a huge part in shaping the person I have become today, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me through Anna Kennedy Online, and their amazing work and I feel so proud to be a part of the AKO family. I am aware of the progress and huge difference that I have made.

 

If I can do it, you can too! Never give up. 

I would like to encourage everyone to spread love and positivity in a world that really needs it. Especially right now. I also ask that you try to be the best advocate for mental health that you possibly can be. Be super thankful for your neighbours, thankful for your friends and family. Most importantly be thankful for yourself and know that you have huge value. Try to appreciate the little things in life as much as you can even when you feel like it is impossible. Stay strong. Reach out when you need it. You are not alone.

 

For more information on mental health services, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/mental-health-services/

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AKO Receives Top Honours at Metropolitan Police Awards Ceremony

Anna Kennedy Online has won the Metropolitan Police Community Contribution Award and the Overall Winner of the Inclusion Diversity Equality Awards for 2024 !
Anna Kennedy, her husband Sean Kennedy and Detective Superintendent Dion Brown were invited on stage to receive this prestigious award.
Safe to say it was unexpected especially after reading and hearing about all the fantastic work being done by so many dedicated people across the organisation.
Well Done to all nominees.
The event took place at The Magic Circle London.

A Glamorous Day in the Cotswolds with RED Luxury Life Magazine

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Cotswolds for a photoshoot and a lovely afternoon tea.
I wasn’t feeling that good however, some time out from work really made me feel so much better.

The Cotswolds is so beautiful.
The Bull Bridge hotel was really lovely and in a stunning location.
A huge thank you to Simon Brown – RED The Luxury Life Magazine for coordinating the shoot and the delicious afternoon tea at Hugo Lovage Patisserie, a real gentleman.
The photographer made me feel at ease Steve Knight and was easy to work with.
The make up artist and I Ayesha Baig clicked immediately such a lovely lady. It felt like I had known her for years.
Last but not least thank you to the amazing Steven Smith, a good friend and one of our charity Patrons working on the edit of this piece.
In the middle of the photoshoot there was a lovely couple asking what were we doing and admiring my dress. It just so happens their grandson had just been diagnosed with autism and asked if they could contact our charity for advice.
Please see the link to Red Luxury Life Magazine.

https://online.fliphtml5.com/jdjtr/iggt/

https://online.fliphtml5.com/jdjtr/iggt/#p=80

Strengthening Safeguards: Proposals to Enhance Protection for Vulnerable Individuals during Police Searches

 

The Government is proposing measures to bolster protections for children and vulnerable individuals subjected to police strip searches, including the requirement to inform parents and guardians.

 

Following the ‘Child Q’ case, reviews conducted by the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Children’s Commissioner for England found that safeguarding during strip searches, particularly concerning intimate exposure, were not adequately prioritised, as stated by the Home Office.

 

A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review concluded that Child Q, a black pupil strip-searched at school in 2020 at the age of 15 without an appropriate adult present, should never have undergone such a search. The proposed amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 mandate authorisation by a senior officer for any strip search of a child or vulnerable person. Police are required to make safeguarding referrals to children’s services whenever a child undergoes a search exposing intimate areas, ensuring appropriate action, according to the Home Office. Further proposed changes include treating under-18s as children when there is suspicion, acknowledging safeguarding needs during intimate searches, and notifying a senior officer if no appropriate adult was present due to urgency. A six-week consultation commenced on April 30, seeking input from law enforcement, children’s services, and practitioners. Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp stated, “Strip search is intrusive and should be used proportionately to ensure safety”.

 

Details of the consultation which closes at noon on the 10th June 2024 can be found here:

 

https://shorturl.at/eosxI

EHCP, annual review and SEN school admission

The Father’s Joy

We provide support for families who are raising children with special needs, families in hardship, women raising children alone and men who are struggling with their fathering roles.

 

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsduyurD4vGda_0VQElKXukZcaQzIkeUSL

 

Cambridgeshire Council Criticised for Failings to meet Boy’s SEN: Ombudsman Orders Compensation and Reforms

 

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) recently ruled against Cambridgeshire County Council for several shortcomings regarding a boy’s Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan. The council has agreed to compensate the affected family with £13,200.

 

The case stems from Mrs X’s complaint, asserting that since 2018, the council neglected to fulfil most of the provisions outlined in her son Y’s EHC Plan, including access to necessary resources at his designated school. Mrs X also highlighted delays in reviewing her son’s plan and inadequate consideration for his transition to adulthood.

 

The investigation revealed significant faults on the council’s part, including the failure to provide a transition plan for Y’s education and inadequate educational support as outlined in his EHC Plan. Y was unable to attend school between January 20, 2021, and July 10, 2023, though he received one-to-one tuition during this period.

 

Moreover, the council faced criticism for delays in reviewing Y’s EHC Plan, failure to consider provisions for his transition to adulthood, and inadequate consultation with relevant professionals. To address these issues, the Ombudsman recommended specific actions, including providing detailed information on the SEND Information Hub and compensating the family for the distress and incurred expenses.

 

Cambridgeshire County Council has acknowledged the Ombudsman’s findings, apologised for the lapses, and confirmed compliance with the recommendations. They also noted the increasing demand for EHC Plans and reiterated their commitment to prevent similar incidents in the future.

 

The LGSCO’s decision can be found here:

 

https://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/education/special-educational-needs/23-009-964

 

Writing East Midlands secures £460,000 for Beyond the Spectrum, a creative writing network for autistic people across the UK.  

 

Beyond the Spectrum is a three-year UK-wide creative programme, led by professional autistic writers. It will help autistic adults and young people produce live events, festivals, writing collections, podcasts, films, and role-playing game scripts. Participants will meet online and in person to create new work and make social connections.

Evidence shows * Rhyme and Reason Poetry Night – Writing East Midlands that by taking part in workshops, events and masterclasses, autistic people gain skills and confidence, and become members of a thriving community. Membership boosts well-being, and for some, reduces feelings of isolation.

Many have gone on to perform work for the first time and have been published. They report that participation increases their sense of agency, as the project encourages them to have their say, and by being heard, they can challenge myths about autism and unlock their creative potential in the process.

‘We are delighted and grateful to Arts Council England, The National Lottery Community Fund, and to the Shine Lincolnshire Mental Health & Wellbeing Community Investment Fund for believing in Beyond the Spectrum’s power and potential to have significant creative and social impact. This investment will enable us to expand the project to a national scale in conjunction with a host of excellent partners up and down the UK. We can’t wait to write with those autistic people out there who don’t currently feel as though their voices are being heard.’

Henderson Mullin CEO, Writing East Midlands

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‘I started writing after my diagnosis at 56 and now have two published poetry collections so can vouch for the enabling aspects of being involved in creative writing. Having been involved in Beyond the Spectrum since its inception, I have seen the benefits that it has brought to others as well as the range and quality emerging from the autistic facilitated groups. I welcome this fantastic opportunity for WEM to extend those benefits to autistic people nationally.’

Trevor Wright FRSA

Diversity Trust Trainer, NDTI Associate and NHS Oliver McGowan Lead Trainer.

Beyond the Spectrum began as a pilot project in 2020 and has grown exponentially over the last four years.

*Research conducted in 2023 by Rachel Phillips, and Lai-Sang Lau, Senior Psychology Lecturers, Nottingham Trent University.

More information: Email: Sian Tower education@writingeastmidlands.co.uk 

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New partners contact henderson@writingeastmidlands.co.uk

Web site: www.beyondthespectrum.uk

Anyone interested in joining the waiting list for free places should register their interest here. Beyond The Spectrum (BTS) WAITING LIST (wufoo.com) 

#autism #inclusion #worldautismawarenessweek2024 #autismacceptance #autismawareness

#writingeastmidlands #creativewriting #unmasking #autisticexpression

#psychology #research @ntu @rachelphillipsntu #creativeinterpretation

#TNLCommunityFund, @TNLComFund

#arts-council-england, @ace_national

#shinelincolnshire , @Shine_lincoln