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

An article by Lauren Smith’s – Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio

An article by Lauren Smith’s – Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio

​Anna Kennedy OBE’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ Womens Radio Station was Lauren Smith

Laura shared:

It was a pleasure to meet Anna Kennedy and share my views about autism and education on Women’s Radio Station. I’m 21, I live in North Somerset and I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism aged 12.

I am currently a distance-learning student, studying for a degree in Special Education with University East of London and am passionate about supporting young people with autism. I have set up a monthly social group for young people with the condition and volunteer for a local disability charity, organising social activities and fundraising.

Anna and I discussed our current work in the autism field and what I aim to achieve. We shared the importance of advocating for more effective support within schools and colleges and highlighted how support should be tailored towards individual needs.

I shared my personal experiences of school. I would often put up a fight as I didn’t want to attend school; Mum had to do a 100-mile trip everyday to take me to school and back as I was unable to get on the school coach.

I faced huge social challenges in the mainstream environment; I had selective mutism for a couple of years, I didn’t understand the social expectations, I struggled to develop and maintain friendships and was bullied by three girls who I considered to be my friend.

Unfortunately, the teachers did not understand my needs, nor did they put any reasonable adjustments in place. I struggled with heightened anxiety which prevented me from expressing myself or contributing to lessons. I also had lots of sensory issues and did not eat lunch for six weeks because I was fearful of the canteen.

Generally, I think the anxiety, sensory issues and social difficulties were more problematic than the actual learning. As I had a very negative time, particularly at secondary school, I am now aiming to improve the education system and make it more inclusive for all.

Even though Mum continually fought, I did not receive much support at school, however the outreach team was called in eventually and I was placed on a reduced timetable, which helped.

I was then referred to an alternative provision where I received one to one support. It was here that I flourished, gained confidence, developed friendships and was awarded six GCSE’s.

I think peer awareness, a mentoring system, autism-specific teacher training, social skills interventions and structured lunch-time support can be beneficial.

I strongly feel that teachers do not have enough time to learn about their individual students, as the emphasis is on teaching the curriculum.

Restricted funding and a lack of appropriate teacher training are key limitations that can impact teaching and learning.

With mental health being on the rise, I feel that there is so much pressure on teachers to provide not just lessons but emotional support, however there is a lack of support for staff.

I feel that in practise schools rarely reflect what they preach.

Anna and I discussed how a lot of students are still struggling, and it is heart-breaking to hear that the school’s attitudes are still not changing, and the support is not in place.

I feel that schools should embrace neurodiversity and students should stand up for their rights. I think it’s important for students to be themselves, stand up for what they believe in and be open about their difficulties so that other people can be supportive.

During the interview, we talked about my ambitions for the future. I explained how I aim to use my experiences to support other vulnerable young people.

I have written a poetry book called Tick Tock: It’s Time to Listen which captures the intense emotions I experienced and the challenges I faced at school.

I am now working towards writing my second book detailing more of my experiences and offering strategies for students, teachers and parents. I am also organising my second autism networking day in my local area to connect those with autism and their families and teach others about the support that’s available.

Overall, my main ambition is to set up an autism awareness business, providing one to one support for students and delivering training to school professionals.

To contact me for more information, please see: A Different Perspective/My Rainbow Life on Facebook and Twitter or go to www.adifferentperspective.info I would love to hear from you!

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

Hornets Host Autism Fun Day

Hornets Host Autism Fun Day

Watford FC hosted an Autism Fun Day for the first time on Friday (November 1), with many families of autistic children and adults having an amazing time at Vicarage Road.

All who attended experienced the Sensory Room at the stadium before checking out the dressing rooms, tunnel and other behind-the-scenes areas and stopping for a photo with the one and only Harry the Hornet!

One special moment occurred when a little boy, who had never been to a football ground before, walked into the Sensory Room overlooking the pitch, stopped and simply said ‘wow’.

An Autism Reality Experience Bus was also brought to the club by Training 2 Care, and parents, carers and club staff spent time in the bus experiencing what it was like to go through a sensory overload.
Anna Kennedy OBE, Founder of UK Autism Charity Anna Kennedy Online, and her Charity Champion Jo Wiggins Annand, have received fantastic responses from families who said they could just be themselves, were not judged and were treated like VIPs.
The charity said they cannot thank the club enough and that Dave Messenger, the club’s Supporter Liaison & Disability Access Officer, had been incredibly helpful.
Messenger said: “We were thrilled to welcome the families, as well as the team from Anna Kennedy Online, to the Sensory Room. It was our pleasure to host and we look forward to further collaboration with this fantastic charity to help increase awareness of autism.”

You can visit www.annakennedyonline.com and register to keep updated with a charity newsletter and information on further events. The charity hope to share another Fun Day in April.

Source: https://www.watfordfc.com/community/disabled-supporters/news-hornets-host-autism-fun-day

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Author: Mala Thapar