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Nominations are now open for

 

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Watch Autism Hero Awards 2023 Highlights

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Autism Hero Awards & Drama Exam

 

I thought that I was just attending the Autism Hero Awards 2023 as a guest, to see the inspiring individuals and groups being recognised for their achievements within the autism community. It was nice to hear everyone’s stories and the recognition as to why they are a hero within the autism community.

Little did I know that the announcement came that I would be recognised as one of the charity supporters of the year, this came to me as an absolute surprise as I truly did not expect to be recognised. It was not only recognition for my work within the autism community for Annakennedyonline and raising funds for them, but for what I do on Gateway 97.8 with Anna Kennedy OBE, raising acceptance and awareness for autism in Essex, which I will continue to do for the foreseeable.

The charity and what it stands for is very close to me. Fast forward to the next day, I was taking my latest set of perforning arts exams. Grade 8 Trinity Musical Theatre group exam and a Grade 7 Trinity solo drama exam, the good news was I ended up getting a Distinction in both which is the highest mark that can be obtained. Sadly like the Intermediate Modern exam I took earlier this year the examining body made it very difficult not only for me, but for my friends to take this exam. Because of us having additional needs. Ths time they required an exemption pass from the Dr’s.

This was very strange as I had taken all my exams in the past with no assistance and as a capable performer. It is sad that there is still ignorance within society and an assumption of what having autism, health and additional needs will stop you being able to achieve. It could have made this hard for me and my friends, but our teacher Moira would not have that. At the end of the day this smashed their theory out of the park! Distinction!

My name is Aston Avery I am autistic and I am very very proud!

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Kratu the Dog Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

 
On Wednesday at a convention in London. The most unexpected and incredible moment when Anna Kennedy who is the founder of a UK autism charity awarded Kratu my dog a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Anna Kennedy Online Autism Animal Hero Award. The first of its kind for her charity.
 
 
 
This was a proud moment for us both.
 
In recognition of all Kratu has done as my assistance dog supporting my autism and adhd.
 
 
 
During our journey together Kratu and I have attended the European parliament , House of Commons where he is an Ambassador for a dog welfare group and the first dog to perform at Autisms got Talent where he received a standing ovation . Kratu has many more achievements under his collar and I am sure will receive many more.
This has opened the door to helping others who are also autistic and who have animals who support them to be recognised with their special animals with more awards next year.
 
 
 
Anna and I will be talking about how to make this happen. Watch this Space …..
 

Kratu has come a long way in helping raising awareness for autism, adhd and mental health.’

 

 
Tess and Kratu.
AnnaKennedyonline Ambassadors.
 

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Congratulations to our Autism Hero Awards 2023 Winners!

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Creative Arts & Media Award
Sponsor Sara Eden Introductions
Winner – Dez Loveartpix

Dez received his diagnosis at the age of 41 and has tirelessly fought to understand his condition daily and help others through his art and breaks the stigma. He is a self-taught artist who creates art daily on his phone to help regulate his condition. He struggles with masking and tries to explain this through his art. Dez has raised thousands of pounds for charities through his art donations and has his art in many public places including France.
Dez has a spotlight coming out with the global app he creates his art on talking about art therapy which went out in June to 150 million viewers worldwide. Due to Dez masking at such a high level he really struggles with people not understanding his condition which is why he also blogs on his website about autism.

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Personal Achievement Award
Sponsor Talem Law
Winner – Cory Chapman

Cory is 12 years old and has Autism, severe ADHD, and Global Developmental Delay. When he was 6 months old he stopped
breathing after contracting a sever bout of gastroenteritis, he was non verbal until the age of 5 and now speaks fluently. Cory is addicted to Motorsport so much he has taken up karting. He had a massive accident in April 2021 but made a full recovery and got back in the kart 2 weeks later and won his first race back in the seat.

Cory has been racing in a National Championship for the last 4 seasons organised by Rob Smedley. Cory is now at that age where he moved up a level, so from December 2022 he drives a mini max which is more powerful, he got pole position and got a 2nd on his first outing. Cory has now won over 40 trophies and his parents are extremely proud of him. 

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The Lifetime Award
Sponsor LEES
Winner – James Punch

James is the most positive, committed, adaptable and professional autism support worker, team leader, manager, trainer, PBS specialist and mentor. The quality James puts
into his work is never too much, he spends every waking moment living, breathing and working with positive social care in mind; it’s inspirational. James goes above and beyond in everything he does, such as picking up significant amounts of overtime working in care and he supports in the community by being a member of support groups, helping families needing advice all whilst having Parkinson’s Disease which makes each day difficult.

Outside of work, James teaches kickboxing to people with autism and other disabilities and he captains a pool team for
people with autism. James really does make a difference.

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Leading Business of the Year Award
Sponsor Uk Pet Food
Winner – Lee Chambers

Lee is a Black Autistic Entrepreneur and founder of inclusive and wellbeing company Essentialise. His business is clearly going from strength to strength, winning the Great British
Entrepreneur Awards and being on this year’s Startups 100 Index and mall Business 100.
They are working with clients like IKEA and PwC to make wellbeing more accessible, inclusive and effective for those marginalised groups. Lee’s business is also a cornerstone employer for SEND schools in Lancashire, supporting with careers guidance, placement support and mentoring.

Outside his business he speaks and advocates in the neurodiversity community. Lee became the first Black British scientist to receive a fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences early this year and was out in California receiving it for his work on the impact of the pandemic and mental health of disabled young people.

 

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Charity Supporters of the year

Ethan Khumalo

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Sibling of the Year
Sponsor Mood bears
Winner – Oliver Stiel

Simon’s brother Oliver is a very much-loved brother. When her was born back in 1992, Simon was very excited to meet him along with his parents and grandparents. As the boys became teenagers, they drifted apart with times that Simon felt he would embarrass him around his friends, and they would also get into a lot of arguments.

Simon says he envied his brother as he was more outgoing than him and after he finished university, he had a paid job but after finishing university Simon struggled to find work. Simon wished him well though. Now as they have got older, they are closer as brothers and Simon realised Oliver was not as confident and outgoing as he thought years ago, they needed each other.
Simon would like to say, “Thanks Oli for being around”.

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Outstanding Community Award
Sponsor Born Anxious
Winner – Jade Cook

Jade is the founder of ‘Spectrum Community Arts’ which provide regular classes and workshops for children and adults with special needs and disabilities. A big percentage of her classes are participants with autism and what she manages to encourage out of them is just amazing. She has a team of incredible volunteers whose passion to make the performing arts accessible to all is evident in the enthusiasm and energy that they bring to sessions.

Spectrum is a really special place to be, the children have been given opportunities to perform at conventions, carnivals as well as having their first showcase last year in a
theatre.

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Parent/Carer of the Year Award
Sponsor M A Strum
Winner – Dan Harris

Dan is the Founder and CEO of Neurodiversity in Business, he is an outstanding advocate for autism and neurodiversity. Dan’s unique experiences, as both an individual with autism and the dedicated father to a non-verbal autistic son, affectionately known as ‘The Joshie Man’ have instilled in him a resolute commitment to foster an inclusive environment that embraces neurodivergence.

Dan recently partnered with the city of Peterborough to install 100 autism communication boards throughout the city including in his son’s local play area. This endeavour is particularly meaningful to Dan as these boards empower non-verbal individuals like his son. Dan’s tireless advocacy and his heartfelt commitment to his son truly encapsulate the spirit of an award.

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Outstanding Education of the Year Award
Sponsor Autism Reality Bus
Winner – Rob Patterson

“Amanda’s son” who has ASC has always found school a challenging environment, he spent the majority of year 2 in the library and had little time in class, his self-esteem was very low and he didn’t feel like a valued member of his class. Mr Patterson has now been his teacher for the past 2 years and has truly transformed this little boy’s life.

“Amand’s son” spends all his time in the classroom now, learning with his peers and his confidence has rocketed, this is all due to his teacher Mr Patterson being unbelievable skilled in helping him to progress and reach his potential. Reducing this little boy’s stress at school has had a positive impact on his home life and he is far less angry these days. Mr Patterson is a wonderful advocate for his students, and they will be forever grateful.

 

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My special awards go to

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Charity Supporters of the year
Aston Avery

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Young Person of the Year Award
Sponsor Pineapple Performing Arts School
Winner – Kaydi Scottsville

Kaydi set up her own charity ‘Diversified’ when she was only 14 years old after her negative experiences in school left her isolated with no high school education. Kaydi has Autism and ADHD. Since 2021 her charity has directly supported hundreds of autistic young people and given them a safe place to be authentically themselves, makes friendships, access mental health and wellbeing support as well as providing alternative learning opportunities for those who struggle to attend school.

Kaydi’s passion to create positive change for autistic young people led Diversified to become the first autistic led charity in Scotland to deliver the Youth Achievement Award, promoting achievement and leadership for autistic young people. Her accomplishments are nothing short of incredible.

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Support group of the Year Award
Sponsor Anna Kennedy Online
Winner – Axia-ASD Post Diagnostic Support Group

This group is specifically for adults diagnosed with Autism through Axia. Dr Linda Buchan started the group in 2015 as a free service to clients so that those who had been diagnosed didn’t feel alone or isolated after their diagnosis. In 2020 when the pandemic hit, the group was sadly forced to cancel their April meeting, but not wishing to leave their clients totally detached, they adopted a Virtual PDSG model which was put in place by the end of 2020.

In Aug 2022 the face-to-face meetings started back up but they retained the virtual ones too. Dr Luke Beardon has been a guest speaker on numerous occasions and has stated the PDSG’s as quite unique. Dr Buchan’s only rule for the group is to respect each other. 

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People’s Hero Award
Sponsor Top Lips
Winner – Sylvia Mochabo

Sylvia is the founder of Andy Speaks 4 Special Needs Persons Africa, which is an organisation that champions for Neurodevelopmental disabilities, this has only been in operation since 2019. They organise Ride 4 Autism every year during the month of April. Andy Speaks has also set up 2 therapy centres in Special schools to assist the students access affordable therapy.

Sylvia has launched a website called Special Needs Resource Hub which will be an information-based hub where individuals with Autism, care givers and PWD’s can get information on schools, therapy centres, therapists and home emergency care etc. Sylvia is a mum of 2 boys with Autism and really has a passion for doing what she does.

 

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Special Achievement
Pamela Aculey

 

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#AutismHeroAwards

Autism Hero Awards 2023: A starry night for autism legends

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An Amazing night at The 5th Autism Hero Awards

 

Yesterday it was AnnaKennedyonline’s 5th Year Autism Hero Awards and it was another emotional and inspirational evening at The Cumberland Hotel Marble Arch.

Congratulations to all our Winners and Finalists

What a night !!!!

Sibling of the Year
Sponsor Mood bears
Winner – Oliver Stiel

Creative Arts & Media Award
Sponsor Sara Eden Introductions
Winner – Dez Loveartpix

Young Person of the Year Award
Sponsor Pineapple Performing Arts School
Winner – Kaydi Scottsville

Personal Achievement Award
Sponsor Talem Law
Winner – Cory Chapman

Outstanding Community Award
Sponsor Born Anxious
Winner – Jade Cook

Online Social Network Award
Sponsor Beauchamp Foot Care
Winner – Pines Team Highland

The Lifetime Award
Sponsor LEES
Winner – James Punch

Parent/Carer of the Year Award
Sponsor M A Strum
Winner – Dan Harris

Support group of the Year Award
Sponsor Anna Kennedy Online
Winner – Axia-ASD Post Diagnostic Support Group

Leading Business of the Year Award
Sponsor Uk Pet Food
Winner – Lee Chambers

Outstanding Education of the Year Award

Sponsor Autism Reality Bus
Winner – Rob Patterson

People’s Hero Award
Sponsor Top Lips
Winner – Sylvia Mochabo

AnnaKennedy OBEs special awards go to

Charity Supporters of the year
Aston Avery
Ethan Khumsy

Special Recognition Award.

Pamela Aculey

Pamela shares:
‘Last night I attended The Autism Hero Awards at The Cumberland Hotel where I was awarded the Special Recognition Award ❤️
It was such a brilliant night in a room full of incredible people who are all changing this world for the better. Thank you Anna Kennedy for this award and for all the important work you do at Autism Hero Awards – Anna Kennedy Online Charity’

Nominations will be open again very soon via www.annakennedyonline.com

Autistic man from Carmarthenshire a finalist in 2023 Autism Hero Awards’ Young Person Category

 

Article by Lewis Rhys Jones


A young autistic man from Carmarthenshire is celebrating another success after being nominated in the Young Person of the Year category for the Autism Hero Awards.

27-year-old Samuel Turner previously won a Pride of Britain Award in 2020 as ITV Wales’ Fundraising champion. Now, he’s looking forward to finding out whether he’ll be an award winner for the second time when the Autism Hero Awards get underway in London on Saturday, 25th of November.

 

Samuel said: “I got a notification saying they’ve got me down for the Young Person of the Year category. When I found out I was nominated for that award I was incredibly overwhelmed.”

“I got to perform at Autism’s Got Talent in 2021. Anna Kennedy is the organiser for both events and she officially nominated me for my personal epic achievements.”

 

Samuel often runs his own “Autistic Baker” stall at the market in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, with money being raised to support the Treetops Charity.

He also enjoys creating short films, and in 2021 wrote his first book “The Autistic Side of Love”, which received recognition from the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking about Samuel’s latest nomination, his father Barry Turner said: “We feel over the moon, it’s such an achievement and he’s come on a long way since he was a young lad.”

Melanie Clark, Samuel’s Personal Assistant added: “Sam’s very passionate to get the message about autism out there and de-stigmatise it.

“We’re just so thrilled he’s been nominated for yet another award.”

You can find out more about the Autism Hero Awards right here.

Anna Kennedy chats with previous Autism Hero Awards winner, writer Sam Grierson about diagnosis, grief and her new film

 

Sam it’s great to chat with you again, you won the Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Hero Award for Creative Arts and Media Award in 2022 – how did that feel?

Hi Anna, wow yes, that was amazing. I remember sitting with my eldest daughter as the results came in, I had been unable to attend in person, my friend Madge was there and was keeping us in touch. The winner was announced live and they sent a video to us, we watched it and my daughter leapt into my arms and shouted “we did it!” and she was right. She has always been my driving force, she was diagnosed first at the age of 6 and I followed a while later at the age of 43. Being acknowledged for the writing and plays that I have created was a real privilege, especially to share it with her, my inspiration.

The plays that you wrote and produced were around later life diagnosis of autism and ADHD, which were deeply personal to you?

Yes, when I was first diagnosed I was feeling very angry and cheated that I had spent my whole life not knowing and being confused at my feelings and behavior. And almost like in a dramatic movie lots of things collided at once.. so of course… I went on a writers retreat.  I hadn’t written since university and I sat down in true hyperfocus fashion and wrote a play – “Crocodile”. I remember the first lines coming into my head “My name is Crocodile Armitage. Most people call me Croc. I probably have some other name on a birth certificate somewhere, but no one could remember such a detail”. When people tell me that they are going through an autism or ADHD diagnosis I send them the link to the Audioplay of Crocodile as it captures every emotion of diagnosis and it’s not pretty. I still get emails from listeners saying “thank you for putting into words my diagnosis roller coaster”.

Heather Peace plays Crocodile in the audioplay version which you recorded in lockdown, how was that?

Heather was fab, so easy to work with and really keen to understand all of the motivations of the autistic / adhd character. We would talk through exactly why I had written the text and she would listen and then deliver an explosive and brilliant performance. This was my first solo audioplay and we recorded using handheld devices remotely and uploaded the files once finished. It was very old school but I think that raw quality added something, when I listen back now. It was self funded, low budget and driven by absolute passion and conviction to be heard.

You then went on to write and produce 3 more, working with other big names, how did you manage all of this in Lockdown?

My next play Mole was set in Wales, I had covered Yorkshire and London in Crocodile and wanted to work with other regional voices and dialects. I also wanted to explore age and the dynamic that brings. Crocodile was in their 30s. Mole is in her 50’s and tackles difficult subjects of loneliness and grief, specifically the loss of a child. It’s heartfelt and hard hitting but shows the power of friendship and acceptance. We recorded this remotely and had an absolute blast with Sharon Morgan, Richenda Carey and Gillian Thomas. During recording I began speaking to Miriam Margolyes about a role for her and I realised quite quickly that she would need her own play and her own setting, hence Kitty was born. Kitty is set in Scotland, as is Miriam’s heritage, and tells of her diagnosis journey at the age of 90, along with her 2 granddaughters who end up on a road trip with her across Scotland. We recorded it at her house in London, masked up, which was a riot (a stressful riot!) and an absolute joy, the effervescent Lorraine Macintosh (Deacon Blue) and Jenny Hulse joined online and we recorded the play. 

Your final audioplay has quite a dramatic title?

Ha! Yes, How to drop a piano. I had finished my trilogy of later diagnosis plays and wanted to write something different. I met the lead character on facebook, Mabz Beet and I got chatting about our autism diagnosis and I thought to myself I want to write them a play. They were an aspiring actor and didn’t want type casting, as often Trans actors are, so I wrote a comedy set in Stratford Upon Avon which involves a parrot, a seance (which is actually very spooky!) and of course we throw a piano out of the window. It was fabulous to work with Jane Asher who is Ambassador of the National Autistic Society and Lesley Joseph who leaves me in fits of laughter every time we speak. I had a great time making the play, but as we wrapped and released it, I knew it would be my last one. It was time for something else.

Time for something new, so what happened next?

Well, unfortunately, my best friend took her own life. I remember the phone call from her partner, when I saw his name come up on my phone screen, late at night, I knew before I even answered that she was gone. We had been friends since we were 4, navigated schools, university and jobs together and now nothing. She was always the person that I sent my first draft to, she was the one person in the world I wanted to read it and hear her views – usually direct, yorkshire and withering – just how I liked them. I went into a void. I didn’t want to spend time with anyone else as it felt disloyal to her. I’m not someone who has lots of friends, my world became small. I stopped writing, anything I tried I hated because I couldn’t send it to her. She always used to say “stop writing serious things, use your dead pan yorkshire humour and make people laugh”, now I couldn’t find anything to laugh about. So I stopped writing for nearly two years. Even my children kept asking, “mummy what are you writing at the moment?”, as they were always involved in my projects giving me ideas and convoluted sub plots. But I just couldn’t write anything. I began a podcast interviewing neurodivergent and queer change makers who were standing up and “Daring to be Different”, this was a great way to connect with people and tell stories without having to actually write.

So what changed, how did you manage to recapture your inspiration? 

I was distractedly watching TV one evening when Michelle Jeram came on the screen as DC “Monty” in the BBC’s Granite Harbour and I said to my partner, “who is that?”. We googled and looked her up and I was so taken aback by the character that she played I reached out to her. Over the next few weeks we started chatting and I opened up about not being able to write anymore, she said to me “we all lose our mojo at times, give yourself a nudge”.

Over the next few months I began discussing my writing with a friend, Kayleigh, who had also personal experience of suicide and grief, we talked about our shared experiences and I developed a strong urge to write about it, in a way to give this grief that we both had so close to the surface an outlet.

A few weeks later I found myself on a sunbed in Croatia in 40 degree heat unable to sit still and focus on “relaxing”. I got out my ipad and began to write a short film script, channeling my grief both from the loss of my best friend but also from my later life diagnosis and the fallout that had ensued, combining stories and thoughts from conversations with Kayleigh into a deep and emotional plot. I had given myself a nudge and unlocked a story in my head.I sent the raw drafts to both Michelle and Kayleigh and said, hey, how about we make this film?

As simple as that?

Ha, well almost. I have never made a film before so I had to assemble a team of great people to work with who shared the vision. Michelle, herself later life diagnosed as autistic, loved the script and the controversial plot twist at the end was enough to engage the Bader Media team to sign up also. Kayleigh was by my side from the start of the idea with her ability to make me consider “the details”, a noble challenge. I approached the wonderful singer and songwriter Megan Black, whilst still writing on the beach and said.. “I’ve had this idea….” and she began to compose the title song for the film. My next text was to Sherise Blackman who had played the deadpan best mate Beau in Crocodile, would she be interested in playing the AI robot…? She replied “count me in”…  We are a diverse team of people, across many spectrums and minorities with a passion for telling stories that matter.

What is the film about?

Its called “The Programme” and it tells a story about who we are and our understanding of neurodivergence and the idea of seeking a “typical existence”. Michelle plays the non binary lead character of Drum – “Subject 3756A/b1” who has been chosen out of 4.3 million profiles to be interviewed by ‘The Programme’ on the subject of loneliness. Throughout the film Drum, delves deeper into their world, and we are reminded of our connections and perception of belonging, choice and identity within an increasingly disconnected world. As we learn more about the research of ‘The Programme’ we question our current reality and what could so easily be our historical future… 

A dystopian, what if? Short film. So when can we see it?

We are recording in January 2024 and seeking funding at the moment. As with all of my projects it’s low budget and high impact. If anybody would like to support the creation of the film even with £20 towards our crowd funding project it would be massively appreciated. Funding for the arts is so difficult to come by and also tricky to access when you are neurodivergent, this is why I have previously self funded all of my projects – I am terrible at filling in forms and completing all of the paperwork that goes with it.

Do you have a link we can go to? 

Yes, you can visit our site on

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/the-programme-short-film-neurodiverse-queer

It would be great to hear from your followers any thoughts you have on the film and your personal experiences of diagnosis.

What are your plans for the film once it’s made?

Once we have made the film, if we raise enough money, we will be hosting a Private Film Premiere  (tickets will be available and sponsorship of the film provides access to this) where we will be doing a meet the cast and question & answer session, where we dig into the “plot twist” and discuss the moral dilemma that it raises.Then we will be joining the Short Film Festival Circuit before we release wider.

Sam, I wish you all the best with your project and look forward to seeing the film in the New Year.

Thanks Anna, much appreciated. 

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Our fifth year Charity Autism Hero Awards 2023 celebrating our finalists.

 

Esteemed Panel Determined Winners at The Cumberland Hotel, London, on September 14, 2023

 

The anticipation for the Autism Hero Awards 2023 builds as the judging panel was revealed.

 

Hosted by Autism Advocate Anna Kennedy OBE for her esteemed autism charity, Anna Kennedy Online, this year’s awards promise to celebrate and recognise outstanding individuals and initiative within the autism community.

 

The judging panel included well-known personalities and industry experts, adding immense credibility to the event. Renowned actress Vicki Michelle from “EastEnders” and “Allo, Allo” joins former “EastEnders” actor Gary Webster, lending their expertise to assess the exceptional nominees. Accompanying them are Superintendent Dion Brown, who collaborated with Anna and her husband Sean on the impactful “Stop and Search” initiative this year, and award-winning author Samantha Lee Howe. Born Anxious founder Kelly Barker, Jo Luck British kick boxing 3 times champion, and David Grant MBE.

 

The Autism Hero Awards were were handed over to Anna 5 years ago from Wales to AnnaKennedy Online Charity to shed light on remarkable accomplishments within the autism community across the UK and Overseas.

 

The initiative serves as a platform to raise awareness and foster acceptance of autism, aiming to honour those who go the extra mile in making a positive difference.

 

Anna Kennedy, the founder of the Autism Charity, expressed her enthusiasm for this year’s nominations, which hit a record high and attracted entries from overseas . She emphasised the significance of celebrating the tireless efforts of individuals dedicated to improving the lives of autistic children and adults.

 

Despite facing a personal loss, actress Vicki Michelle remained steadfast in her support for the cause, praising Anna Kennedy’s incredible work and expressing her commitment to celebrating the heroes of the autism world. Gary Webster, a former “Minder” actor, echoed her sentiments, describing the judging experience as an honour and humbling.

 

The winners of the Autism Hero Awards 2023 will be unveiled at a star-studded red-carpet event on November 25, 2023, at The Cumberland Hotel, London, promising a night of recognition and celebration.

 

Our judges gathered to decide the finalists for this years Autism Hero Awards

 

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Autism Hero Awards 2023 Finalists

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Outstanding Education Award

Damian Brown
Rob Patterson
The Scottish Centre for Personal safety

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Lifetime Award

Dr Rashmi Becker MBE
Dr Linda Buchan
James Punch

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People’s Autism Hero Award

Asher Jenner
Dorothy Nambi
Sylvia Mochabo

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Leading Business of the Year Award

Ryan Statton
Brad Thorpe
Lee Chambers

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Sibling of the Year Award

Oliver Stiel

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Young Person of the Year Award

Samuel Turner
Evelyn Baker French
Kaydi Scottsville

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Parent/Carer of the Year Award

Dan Harris
Margaret Njeri
Rachel Mills

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Online Social Network Award

Kent Autistic Trust
Paul Ward
Pines Team Highland
 

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Creative Arts & Media Award

Gabrielle Overton
Nadeem Shaath
Dez Love art pix

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Outstanding Community Award

Jade Cook
Kayleigh Graveson
Sara Bradford

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Personal Achievement Award

Rachel Barcelona
Kanyeyachukwu Tagbookeke
Cory Chapman

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Support Group of the Year Award

Autism Wish – Lia McCabe

Axia-ASD Post Diagnostic Support

Autism Bucks – Neil Cary

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Anna Kennedy Online proudly presents the Autism Hero Awards 

We are celebrating our 5th year on

Saturday 25th November 2023 at the Cumberland Hotel, Cumberland Place, London W1H 7DL

(Two minute walk from Marble Arch Tube Station)

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 Anna Kennedy Online Charity created the Autism Hero Awards was created as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the excellence taking place in the world of Autism. This is a unique opportunity to celebrate and highlight accomplishments as well as enhancing Autism awareness and acceptance.

Through these annual Awards Anna Kennedy Online recognises significant achievements and celebrates successes and 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.

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Sponsor the Autism Hero Awards 2023!

Anna Kennedy Online is proud to announce the Autism Hero Awards 2023 which celebrates and recognise the excellence taking place in the world of Autism. The charity would like to offer you an opportunity to be our corporate sponsor for this project.

The following categories are available for you to sponsor this year:

Parent/Carer of the Year Award

Young Person of the Year Award

Personal Achievement Award

Support group of the Year Award

Leading Business Award

Online Social Network Award

People’s Autism Hero Award

Outstanding Education Award

Creative Arts and Media Award

Outstanding Community Award

Sibling of the Year Award

The Lifetime Award

Special Recognition Award

Charity Supporter of the year

Sponsorship Package

We announced the Autism Heroes Award category winners in advance so that the winners and finalists attending the ball can prepare.

The cost of each category will be £650 inclusive of VAT, in return we would offer many sponsorship benefits, such as your company logo and website link on our charity website, the press board and in our program that will be distributed to all our guests.

You will also receive two VIP tickets which will include a three course meal, welcome drink and entertainment. We will also welcome you to present your sponsored category award to the winner and the highly commended recipients on stage.

Celebrities, winners, and sponsors photos are taken on the red carpet in front of the press board and then shared across the media. Past photos have been in Daily Mail online, Daily Express, Community Care Magazine, SEN Magazine, London Post, Essex Magazine plus many others.

Social media promotion to a network of over 100,000 people and outreach of over 500,000 along with full press promotion and inclusion in all press opportunities. There will be excellent networking opportunities alongside positive brand promotion and association by partnering with us including PR and press coverage of the awards at each stage of the process.

Dr Anna Kennedy OBE shared: “There are so many people around the world who are going that extra mile to help children & young people with Autism. We thought that it would be nice to let people know about this good practice. We also feel that people with Autism achieve so much on a daily basis that maybe goes unnoticed. We would like to show you how amazing Autism is through the awards.” 

For sponsorship enquiries, email: lisa.robins@annakennedyonline.com

Please click here to read testimonials from previous sponsors

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Our Judges for Autism Hero Awards 2023!

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Anna Kennedy Online is proud to announce the following Judges in selecting the finalists for Autism Hero Awards 2023

This year’s judges are David Grant MBE, Kellie Barker, Detective Superintendent Dion Brown, Ben Pearson, Samantha Lee Howe and Jo Luck.

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David Grant MBE is a BAFTA award-winning broadcaster, vocal coach singer and leadership coach. His TV and music career has spanned over 40 years. He was awarded a MOBO award in 1998 and a BASCA in 2008 for his lifetime services to the music industry.

David has had 14 hit records and been nominated for 2 Brit Awards. David was awarded an MBE in 2019 for his lifetime services to music.

Together with his wife, Carrie, David was a judge on Fame Academy and now hosts the Saturday Breakfast Show on BBC Radio London. David is Father to four children three are birth children, one was adopted – all have special needs, two are autistic.

David shared: I am really looking forward to being a judge at this year’s Anna Kennedy Online Autism Hero Awards and particularly excited to hear all the stories of the great work people are doing in the autistic community.

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Ben Pearson, founder of BigClothing4U and Uptheir, is a serial entrepreneur with a difference. Diagnosed with autism, Ben has used his platform to create inclusive clothing that strives for change – from clothing in sizes 2XL-8XL, to his Harvey’s Law Collection in collaboration with other Anna Kennedy Online ambassadors, Katie and Harvey Price.

After growing up in the care system and battling homelessness at just 17, Ben has faced more challenges than most. To share his story and inspire others, Ben has been a frequent guest on Anna’s radio show, All Things Autism in Essex, and on her podcast.

Upon being a selected ambassador for the charity, Ben said, “It’s a great honour and privilege to be a chosen ambassador for such a disruptive and innovative charity. As someone with autism, I’ve often been misunderstood. I often wish that I had someone like Anna and her incredible charity growing up to help champion change”.

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Kellie shared: I am delighted to be asked to be a judge for such an amazing event that celebrates and showcases accomplishments of amazing people within the Autism community.

I  attended the Hero awards in 2019 and found it very moving that so many people came together to celebrate and mark each other’s amazing achievements , it was a room full of amazing special people.

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Samantha Lee Howe has everyone talking. She has beaten all the odds to become a best-selling author topping the USA Today book charts with her novel The Stranger in our Bed. She has Hollywood talking as her debut as screenwriter of the film of the same name has become an international hit.

Samantha has also in demand in broadcasting for her wit and down to earth opinions In addition she has become a survivor ambassador for IDAS the Yorkshire domestic abuse charity.

Writing was a way to escape from reality, and her husband’s clutches who saw her endeavours as ‘a total waste of time!’ Despite all this negativity, Samantha graduated with a BA Hons, and went on to escape the marriage, divorcing her husband, and moving to North Wales.

Samantha taught English to ‘A’ Level, but just knew it was never going to be enough. In 2007 she began her professional writing career with her first novel, and has never looked back.

In February 2020, Samantha’s first psychological thriller, The Stranger in Our Bed, was released by HarperCollins One More Chapter, and immediately caused a stir in the industry. This was followed in June 2020 with the signing of a three-book deal for an explosive spy thriller trilogy, The House of Killers (The House of Killers (Book 1), Kill Or Die (Book 2) and Kill A Spy (Book 3)). The titles were all released in 2021. Pitched as Killing Eve meets Jason Bourne, the books chronicle a nerve-shredding, enemies to lovers, tale that simmers with obsession.

Samantha is now in a happy marriage to second husband, David J Howe, and is also a Patron of the charity POhWER, which gives support to those who are often socially excluded.

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Dion is 40 years old and a father of 5. He works as a Detective Chief Inspector with The Metropolitan Police in London.

He lives in Essex with his wife Sara and their children. Two of Dion’s children have autism, his son Hayden who is 12 and one of his daughters Darcy who is 9.

Dion shared: “I feel extremely honoured to have been asked to be a judge for this year’s Anna Kennedy Autism Hero Awards. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Anna and her husband Sean over the last year or so and I am full of admiration for what they do. I am very much looking forward to hearing about the remarkable stories of all the nominees this year.”

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I am a patron of AKO and a 3 times kickboxing world champion. Kickboxing has always helped me as an outlet for my day to day frustrations that come with living with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD and sensory processing differences.

I became involved with AKO after I decided to use my success within my sport as a way to reach out to and inspire young people.

It is a privilege to be asked to judge the Autism Hero Awards as through my experiences coping with my own autism and in helping families affected by autism I know on a personal level how isolating and stressful navigating life on the spectrum can be and how valuable good support and input truly is.

It is certainly important to recognise those who go above and beyond their professional remit and individuals who battle on regardless. It is important they know they are not alone within the autism community.

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