TAM's Journey: Helping Children Understand and Manage Their Emotions Through Storytelling - Amanda Peddle

The TAM’s Journey Book series introduces, through storytelling and endearing characters, how our nervous system creates the sensations we recognise as emotions and how this is the most NORMAL and one of the oldest bodily functions, now over stimulated and misinterpreted

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As we move into an Era of increased awareness of our Emotional wellbeing and the impact on ourselves and society as a whole, it becomes clear that more ways of encouraging children to manage their emotional state in an effective and understandable way is needed, introducing the Physiological process as part of a journey of discovery like TAM and his new friend Hetty.

 

Teaching Children and Young People the ‘how and why’ of emotions can remove stigma and calm some of the worry around reactions. By sharing a learning experience like a story, they can develop their understanding of why we as a species respond to stimulus the way we do. This leads a greater self-awareness and in turn an opportunity to challenge some of those reactions.

 

Amanda Peddle, the author and programme creator, has over 23 years in practitioner roles based in both Education, residential and therapeutic settings, she is currently advancing her studies with The Polyvagal Institute. Her passion is to make all children and young people able to understand and accept rather than be fearful of FEELING. Recommended by Dr Tina Rae, Educational and Clinical Child Psychologist, and children and families worldwide.

 

‘I think there’s something really lovely genuinely lovely about having this central character, this sweet boy who goes through the whole journey of actually learning how to understand how his brain is connected to his body, the feelings that are generated in him, how he can work with those feelings and learn how to understand them more effectively, to be able to pre-empt them when he is faced with an emotional hijack or overwhelmed but also there is something very, very clever I think about making this very simple, straightforward, accessible, rather than something that sounds so scientific that it can be off putting to children and young people’ Dr Tina Rae’

My Visit to Daisy Chain Charity

 

Last week I was kindly invited by Neeraj the CEO of ‘Daisy Chain Charity’, a charity which Anna is a patron for to have a tour of their centre and onsite farm so I could see what services they offer autistic and neurodivergent individuals. The centre offers a range of clubs, activities, well being support, performing arts groups and groups during the day that children who are struggling in mainstream can attend. The centre is open 7 days a week and evenings which is great.

 

The centre is set on a large site in Norton, Stockton, the outdoor facilities were amazing they have sensory playgrounds and gardens, quiet spaces, playground equipment for all ages and sensory needs, glamping pods where activities take place and my favourite was the farm which was so spacious, relaxing and truly amazing. I got to see the pigs, alpacas, goats, Shetland ponies, guinea pigs. The outdoor area also has poly tunnels where individuals get to work on projects like growing vegetables from seed taking care of them, growing them then cooking and eating them.

 

Inside the centre they have a lovely calming reptile room, soft play area, sensory room, kitchen, lots of rooms and spaces for groups/clubs. I even got to see Neeraj’s office and met quite a few staff members who were all really nice.

 

I really enjoyed my visit to the centre and seeing the vast amount of services available to individuals like myself as there is nothing available in my area in forms of support or opportunities like there is at the Daisy chain Centre but I was pleased to be informed that in the future the daisy chain Charity will be offering some support in my region Bradford which is amazing has I live approximately 80 miles away.

 

Neeraj and all the team made me feel very welcome and his passion for helping autistic and neurodivergent individuals is amazing.

 

By Charlie Conway



Wishing you a Happy Birthday Charlie, from everyone at Anna Kennedy Online!

Newhaven's King's Park Campus Hosts First Autism's Got Talent Show

 
Last Week Anna was invited to Newhaven’s King’s Park Campus for their first school Autism’s got Talent. Families came together to support 15 autistic performers from 4 local schools.
 
 
There were singers, dancers, a keyboard player, drummer, reciting from the Koran and even a dead weight lifting act!
 
 
The first performer we were honoured to listen to the talented Ollie Kelly who recently has graduated from the Brit School and is going to study jazz at Trinity Laban next year. Ollie plays in a number of bands including Ramfunk, Xanadu, Flytrap and The Youthsayers.
 
 
 
The last act was Samir. Samir was representing the Tramshed. 
Tramshed are a performing arts group that provide programmes for young people and adults with learning differences. Anna was asked to give certificates and trophies to all the performers alongside the Headteacher.
 
 
Anna has been invited back next year.

The atmosphere was electric and Anna was emailed by Kathy Mackinnon the Pastoral HLTA who coordinated the event that students enjoyed the evening so much they were singing around the school the following day.

Olivia’s fundraiser for Anna Kennedy Online – Win a Nintendo Switch!

 

 

via JustGiving

We are thrilled to be organising a fundraiser for Anna Kennedy Online, a charity close to our hearts. With the goal of raising £500, we are excited to offer the chance to win a Nintendo Switch while supporting this important cause. Each ticket is only £5, and every contribution brings us closer to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those living with autism. Your support means the world to us and to the individuals and families who benefit from Anna Kennedy Online’s vital work. Join us in making a positive impact today!

 

Together, let’s spread hope and create opportunities for individuals with autism. Your generosity will help Anna Kennedy Online continue their invaluable efforts in providing support and resources for the autism community.

We invite you to be part of this incredible journey by purchasing a ticket or making a donation. Every little bit counts, and together we can make a big difference.

Our Anna Kennedy Online charity Ambassadors Tess and Kratu meet his Majesty the King.

‘Dressed to the nines in a morning suit and top hat, His Majesty walked down the red carpet-lined stairs to guests waiting in the garden.

 

Among the guests was a four-legged VIP – Kratu, a rescue dog from Transylvania. The Carpathian-Mioritic mix is something of a celebrity after causing havoc at Crufts during the agility tests but also has a serious day job as an Autism support dog for his owner, Tess Eagle Swan.

 

She rescued him when he was just weeks old and brought him to the UK.And she says he has transformed her life and ‘taught me love’ as a therapy dog. Kratu gently sniffed the sovereign’s hand and the king stroked him.

 

Tess said afterwards that His Majesty – who has a number of homes in Transylvania and visits the region regularly – that he told her that he knew the breed, which is normally used for guarding. ‘He was taken with how gentle he was, she said. ‘
 

Autism's Got Talent 2024 Performers Revealed!

 

We are thrilled to announce the line-up for Autism’s Got Talent 2024, This year’s showcase features an array of talented individuals with Autism, ready to share their incredible skills with you.

Selecting our performers was no easy task; we received so many wonderful entries, each showcasing amazing talent. After careful consideration, we are excited to introduce the acts that will take the stage:

 

Aaron and Andy Clark 

Laasya Karupalli

Chloe Rose Duffy

Ty Williams 

Erin Davies 

Jiniya Caesar

Daniel Jones 

Lianne Vessier 

Luke Steven Ledwood 

Caydian Evans

Ava Louise Pew

Ethan Stewart

Hayley Doyle

Cid Henry Ericson 

Rosie Graham

Jack Medhurst

Jenny Robinson

Eliana Jones 

Alba Pulido-Brocklebank

Eve Golding

Andrew McMurdie 

True Colours Theatre CIO Foundation

Supported as always by Pineapple Performing Arts 

 

Congratulations to all of our performers, we look forward to seeing you this October!

 

Saturday, October 12th 2024

The Mermaid Theatre

2 Puddle Dock London EC4V 3DB

 

Tickets available to purchase now

Countdown to #AGT2024

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Disability Pride Month is a time of celebration, empowerment, and advocacy for the rights and achievements of people with disabilities. It’s a month dedicated to raising awareness, challenging stigma, and promoting inclusivity in all aspects of society.

Our Includability Ambassadors explore the essence of Disability Pride Month, its significance, and how businesses can play a crucial role in fostering a disability-friendly workplace culture.

Discover how Includability can support your organisation in embracing diversity and accessibility.

What is Disability Pride Month?

Disability Pride Month is an annual observance held in July to celebrate the diversity and resilience of people with disabilities.

It’s a time to recognise the contributions and achievements of individuals with disabilities, while also acknowledging the ongoing struggles and barriers they face in society. Disability Pride Month seeks to promote acceptance, inclusion, and equal opportunities for people of all abilities.

Disability Pride Month originated in the United States, where in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law was passed to prevent people with disabilities being discriminated against.

Up until this point, people with disabilities did not have the protection of law when they were treated equally and didn’t have access to many of the same opportunities.

In the UK, Northern Ireland first introduced protections through legislation with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, with England, Scotland and Wales passing a similar law in 2002 called the Disability Discrimination Act, later replaced by the Equality Act in 2010.

Why do we celebrate Disability Pride Month?

Disability Pride Month is observed as both a celebration and a call to action. It’s a time to celebrate the unique identities and experiences of people with disabilities, fostering a sense of pride and empowerment within the community.

The first Disability Pride Parade in the UK was held in Belfast in 2014 and serves as an opportunity to challenge stigma, raise awareness about the issues facing people with disabilities, and advocate for greater accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of society.

Disability Pride started as a celebration day marking the anniversaries of the introduced laws for respective countries. Over time, Disability Pride has evolved from a day of celebration to a month-long event.

When is Disability Pride Month?

Disability Pride Month takes place annually in July, with events and activities held throughout the month to celebrate and promote disability pride. It’s a time for individuals, organisations, and communities to come together in solidarity and support of people with disabilities, amplifying their voices and advocating for positive change.

What is the theme for Disability Pride Month 2024?

This year’s theme is ‘I want a life like yours’ – this theme comes from The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates. It reflects the disability community’s aspirations for life experiences that they are too often denied.

This year, we can expect people with disabilities to share their diverse stories of success as students, employees, leaders, and engaged members of their communities and families, when barriers are removed.

Why is talking about Accessibility in the Workplace so important?

Accessibility in the workplace is crucial for ensuring equal opportunities and inclusion for people with disabilities.

By addressing accessibility barriers and implementing inclusive policies and practices, businesses can create a supportive environment where all employees can thrive. Talking about accessibility in the workplace helps raise awareness, identify areas for improvement, and promote a culture of inclusivity and accommodation.

“Disability Pride Month is about celebrating diversity, being unapologetically yourself as a disabled person (without masking or hiding) and giving companies the opportunity to change the conversation and highlight ways to better understand and support colleagues.

“This is a great time to start conversations and educate yourselves. It can be as simple as listening to a podcast, watching a video or attending a webinar through to hosting disability inclusion training and workshops. It’s a perfect opportunity to speak and gain insight from the disabled community so you can truly understand what it is to be an ally.

“Sadly, the fact remains that whilst disabled people make up the biggest minority group in the world, they are still, by far, the most underrepresented in the workforce. This is in spite of more than 90% of companies having a DEI initiative as within that only 4% focus on disability so use this month to change this, but remember we aren’t just disabled for a month!

Don’t do a big initiative and campaign throughout the month and then stop, you must continue with your inclusion journey, otherwise it’s just tokenism.”

Kaye Moors, Managing Director, DRUM Studios

Why is talking about Autism in the Workplace so important?

Discussing autism in the workplace is crucial because it promotes a more inclusive, understanding, and supportive environment for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Raising awareness and fostering acceptance can help dismantle misconceptions, reduce stigma, and highlight the unique strengths and perspectives that autistic employees bring to the table. Addressing the specific needs and accommodations required for those who require it, businesses can create a more diverse and innovative workforce, ultimately enhancing productivity and positive workplace culture.

“Disabilities like autism are not always visible so it can sometimes be hard to tell that someone is disabled. Many individuals with autism look upon it as something positive and that gives them, “autism superpowers”. Therefore, always focus on the things that the person can do, rather than what they can’t do. Also, remember that everyone who has a disability is unique and will have different traits.”

Alex Manners, Neurodiversity & Autism Speaker and Author

“Autism Awareness and Acceptance provides the knowledge and understanding necessary to recognise the diversity and complexity of autism , including its many varied strengths and challenges. 

“Awareness and Acceptance can instigate positive change, prompt conversations, challenges stereotypes, and hopefully will promote empathy and understanding which will create further opportunities for autistic children and adults.”

Anna Kennedy OBE, Chairperson, AnnaKennedyOnline

Why is talking about Deaf/Hard of Hearing Inclusion in the Workplace so important?

Addressing Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HoH) inclusion in the workplace is vital for fostering an equitable and accessible environment for all employees.

This focus on inclusion not only benefits the individuals directly affected but also enriches the workplace with diverse perspectives and skills, driving innovation and enhancing team dynamics. Promoting D/HoH inclusion is a critical step towards building a truly inclusive and supportive workplace for everyone.

“The key message in my line of work would be that as per the theme for this year ‘I want a life like yours’ that all D/deaf/Hard of Hearing people should be treated the same as everyone else; with the same fairness, respect, accessibility and inclusion to go about their everyday lives without prejudice, oppression, discrimination and to be given the same opportunities than their hearing friends, families and colleagues.”

Emm Sharpe, Director of Study Sharpe

How can businesses foster a Disability Friendly workplace culture?

Businesses can foster a disability-friendly workplace culture by prioritising accessibility, inclusion, and accommodation for employees with disabilities. This includes providing accessible facilities, technology, and resources, as well as offering training and education on disability awareness and inclusion.

Here are our Ambassadors’ top tips for businesses setting out to improve their workplace culture –

Accessibility

“The best way to prioritise accessibility all year round is to change your mindset. Accessibility is a journey, not a destination. Embrace unlearning everything you thought you knew about digital and go back to the main point in question, your users.

“Start small and focus on one thing that you can do better each month and then repeat until accessibility is so ingrained in your rationale that you always look at the bigger picture. Trust me, these small steps take you on a journey that puts accessibility front and centre of your DEI initiatives. Provide ongoing training to developers, designers, and content creators on accessibility standards and best practices, to ensure that accessibility is considered from the outset of digital design and development projects, rather than being an afterthought. And then welcome feedback to encourage users with disabilities to identify issues.”

Kaye Moors, Managing Director, DRUM Studios

Autism Awareness

“Plan autism awareness sessions and promote autism via your social media channels all year round. Whilst it is fantastic to do this during “Autism Acceptance Month” or “Disability Pride Month”, plan things for other times in the year. By keeping this in mind, autism will be at the forefront of people’s minds all year round.”

Alex Manners, Neurodiversity & Autism Speaker and Author

D/HoH

“If we consider the current legislation in place, namely, The BSL Act 2022, there is now a real responsibility for businesses, charities and organisations across the UK to deep dive into their website accessibility, their policies and practice to adopt more Deaf friendly procedures and practices, and to allocate essential budgetary funding to provide staff teams with quality Deaf Awareness training.  There has never been a better time to really examine how to service the needs fully of the Deaf Community and especially British Sign Language users.”

Emm Sharpe, Director of Study Sharpe 

By creating a supportive and inclusive environment, businesses can attract and retain diverse talent, enhance employee morale and productivity, and contribute to a more equitable society.

How Includability can help your organisation during Disability Pride Month?

Includability offers a range of resources, and support to help organisations foster a disability-friendly workplace culture during Disability Pride Month and beyond. From accessibility audits to awareness training and inclusive policy development, Includability can help your organisation create an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported.

Contact us today to learn more about how Includability can assist your organisation in embracing diversity and accessibility and make Disability Pride Month a time of meaningful progress and celebration.

https://www.weareincludability.co.uk/membership/what-makes-includability-the-standard

This is an ongoing article and open to expansion. There are many tips that businesses can benefit from which you may be able to help with. If you have expertise in any area of disability in the workplace, please contact us and add your brilliant insights. communications@includability.co.uk

Autism Awareness and Acceptance provides the knowledge and understanding necessary to recognise the diversity and complexity of autism , including its many varied strengths and challenges.

“Awareness and Acceptance can instigate positive change, prompt conversations, challenges stereotypes, and hopefully will promote empathy and understanding which will create further opportunities for autistic children and adults.”

Anna Kennedy OBE, Chairperson, AnnaKennedyOnline

Autism Show – June 2024

All Things Autism in Essex returned for it’s June edition, with Euro’s in full swing, Olympics coming up and the start of the summer season. Aston and regular contributor Anna Kennedy OBE spoke about how look after someone with autism throughout the summer and also spoke to amazing guests as well.

Another busy show for Aston and I ‘Talking All things Autism’ On Gateway Radio for the month of June.

Our guests this month were Kelsey McInearney , Kian Butler and Claire Prosser.

Kelsey works as a nurse and absolutely loves her job. She has also started a new business called ‘Calm Crate’ 

It took a long time for her autism and ADHD diagnosis to be discovered and now she finally has the correct diagnosis she is able to live her life with a new understanding of herself and the world around her.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheCalmCrate?dd_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2F

Our second guest Kian is a 22 year old autistic creator with a deep passion for music and entertainment. Since performing on Autism’s got Talent , he has had the privilege to be invited to work on Junior Eurovision France 2023 and Eurovision Sweden in 2024. 

Kian was excited to hear his new cover version of the winning song from Eurovision this year aired on Gateway 97.8 before his interview with Aston and I.

Our third guest was Claire Prosser the founder of Spectropolis. She is is also an educational psychologist , working in Wales and has an autistic son. She was awarded a British Empire Medal on the Queens Honours List for her work supporting the Autistic Community.

Spectropolis

Aston and I also spoke about our up coming Sky Dive in July with Lisa Robins and Steven Smith. 

Here is the link if you would like to sponsor us for AnnaKennedyOnline

Another exciting announcement is that Aston will join Philip Barnett as MC for Autism’s got Talent this year on October 12th at Mermaid Theatre.

All performers will be announced very soon and tickets are now on sale via our charity website www.annakennedyonine.com

Thank you once again to Gateway Radio for giving us the opportunity to talk ‘All things Autism in Essex’

Keep well everyone and looking forward to our show in July!!

Sending positive vibes.

Anna Kennedy OBE”

All Things Autism in Essex will return soon.

Marcus Mason-Williams our AnnaKennedyonline First Steps Entrepeneur winner is going from strength to strength. 

Marcus share’s his second new book launch which is happening today. Congratulations Marcus we are all very proud of you!

Marcus Mason-Williams, a Special Olympics GB alpine skier, is also an author and illustrator of childrens stories.

Through his selection as a SmallBizz100 enterprise and his connections with Small Business Britain and Lloyds Banking Group, who are promoting disabled-led small businesses, he was introduced to a fellow disabled business owner and book editor and publisher, Jen Parker of Fuzzy Flamingo.

Marcus wrote, illustrated and published his first childrens story, Zooland A Sign of Hope in December 2022.  This was a story that showed that when you have passion, talent and a dream, anything is possible.  It features Milo – a young zebra with a passion for football and adventure – and Velma – a young girl with talent and footballing ambitions of her own. When Milo unexpectedly acquires a football and teams up with Velma, together they overcome obstacles and opposition to help a struggling England Soccer Aid football team and to realise their dreams.

Thanks to the help of Special Olympics GB Marcuss Zooland book was signed by Gareth Southgate (England football manager) and Steve Clarke (Scotland football manger) and Marcus is now in discussions with a number of football clubs about sharing the story with children supported by their charitable foundations. 

In 2023 and early 2024 he was asked by a local Midlands author to illustrate a childrens story about a young rabbit and his adventures with his local farm animals.  This is due to be published later this year. 

He has now published his second (longer) childrens story.  He again wrote the story and produced the digital illustrations.  This time the story is about two autistic characters and their unusual friends: the lives of Richard Rosemary, the son of a farmer, and Maranda, the daughter of a king, are touched by Chester, a very special horse, and Wisdom, a magical whistle-breath dragon. Will the young heroes find a way to right the wrong of a dragons capture and prevent a war between the Kingdom of Bear and the Kingdom of Dragon? Discover how Richard and Maranda harness their amazing autistic strengths and overcome lifes challenges with character and courage.  Magical powers, friendship and the realisation that autism is a strength, not a weakness, inspires our human and animal heroes to achieve the impossible.  Get ready for a fantasy adventure!

In addition to the book Marcus has produced a short teaser trailer animation, using digital software, for the book, including music and special effects.  This will be shared on social media and with a number of animation companies that are helping him.  One day Marcus wants to produce an animated movie!

The Horse and the Dragon book is available on Amazon and distributed through Ingram Spark. 

P.S. Marcus and Jen are members of the government-backed campaign called The Lilac Review, which highlights the value of disabled-led small businesses and the hurdles they face.  This is being supported by Small Business Britain and Lloyds Banking Group.

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has urgently called on any incoming government to address mounting pressures in children’s social care and SEND services, following the release of manifestos from major political parties this week.

ADCS welcomed the focus on tackling childhood disadvantage in some pledges, but stressed the pressing need to alleviate increasing strains in these vital services. They emphasised the importance of supporting children’s health and wellbeing, particularly their mental health, alongside a call for a comprehensive long-term plan to secure children’s futures and bridge funding shortfalls in children’s services. They noted that children have been overlooked politically for too long.

Rachael Wardell, ADCS Vice President, remarked on the emergence of common themes across manifestos, such as plans to recruit more teachers and expand childcare provision. She expressed ADCS’s readiness to collaborate with the new government to ensure these promises are fulfilled. However, she underscored the immediate need for a robust childhood plan and increased funding to meet the needs of children and families.

Wardell highlighted critical areas needing immediate attention, including pressures in children’s social care and SEND services, as well as the imperative to bolster children’s mental health support. She urged all government departments to unite efforts towards prioritising children and families in policy decisions to enhance their wellbeing.

Labour pledged to embed specialist mental health professionals in every school to provide early intervention for issues. The Liberal Democrats committed to addressing the SEND provision crisis by boosting local authority funding and establishing a new National Body for SEND.

In summary, ADCS’s message is clear: urgent action is needed to address current challenges and to secure a brighter future for children across the UK.

19th June 2024

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