Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Race and Learning Disability – an Introduction

Race and Learning Disability – an Introduction

Race and Learning Disability – an Introduction

At Respond we work with marginalised groups of people with learning disabilities, autism, or both, and we specialise in trauma and loss.

Our mission is ‘To bring about positive change that enables people with learning disabilities, autism or both who have experienced abuse, violence or trauma to live richer, more resilient lives.’ It is important to acknowledge the marginalised racial group within this further marginalised group of people with learning disabilities – this is known as double discrimination. Click here to read the full article.

Anna Kennedy online have created a survey as part of our Campaign culture, it is important that we hear your views.
Please click here to complete this brief survey and share with friends and family.
East London after school club incident

East London after school club incident

East London after school club incident

An eight-year-old black boy from Greenleaf After School Club in Walthamstow, east London, was made to clean his five-year-old sister after she soiled herself despite toilets being nearby. The mother of the boy labelled the incident ‘humiliating and racist’. A mother has hit out after her eight-year-old son was forced to clean his five-year-old sister after she soiled herself at an after-school club. Click here for the full article.

BBC investigation has revealed that the boy, who attended Greenleaf After School Club in Walthamstow, east London, told his mum he was made to clean excrement off his sister’s leg in front of other pupils, despite toilets being nearby.

The Good Law Project now hopes to raise £30,000 to pay for a leading law firm to “fight for justice for her family”, as well as to support other families in similar circumstances, and has already raised more than £1,000 in one day. Click here for more details.

Mala Thapar shared: “This was an appalling situation to read about and in full admiration of the mother taking further action. This is unacceptable and humiliating to any child and hope that the Good Law Project get justice for this family. The word “inclusive” tends to get used as a tick box exercise consistently, but unfortunately not always practiced. How can any service support Black and Brown children when subjected to this level of humiliation at such an early age?”

Anna Kennedy Online have created a survey and we must hear your views. Please click here to complete this brief survey and share with it your friends and family. 

Mental health musings of an autistic mind- article by Tess Eagle Swan

Mental health musings of an autistic mind- article by Tess Eagle Swan

Mental health musings of an autistic mind – an article by Tess Eagle Swan

Mental health

What does it mean to me? Autistic me.

It is a battle ship that sails on often stormy seas. Sometimes the storms are so ferocious the ship is full of water and feels like sinking. Smashed by waves of overwhelming and meltdown, drowning in misunderstandings, crashing into rocks of bad communication, hurled by winds of rejection, unacceptance and judgment.

Click here to read the full article.

Please click here for details of Tess’s book.

Mental health awareness week – Daniel Docherty

Mental health awareness week – Daniel Docherty

Mental health awareness week – an article by Daniel Docherty

Mental health, a term too often dispersed and spread around nonchalantly in 21st century society. A term utilised manipulatively by marketing companies and social media to lure the public into a false sense of sincerity. A term attributed to the functioning of an enigmatic part of human existence that experts still don’t fully understand.

This then begs the question, what is this complex concept known as mental health? Despite its popularity and elevation to the status of a ‘buzzword,’ it does have a practical application and effect in the real world. Mental health is a state of mind. Good mental health is in essence a state of mind in which balance and order are present and disturbances are kept to a minimum. It is the state in which your mind is healthy.

Just like the health of our physical bodies, good mental health and well-being is vitally important to our existence and quality of life as a whole. If this state of psychological homeostasis is not achieved, it can have detrimental effects on one’s life and potentially devastating outcomes. Almost everyone on this planet experiences adversities and disturbances to their mental state to varying degrees and for differing durations, but most overcome these difficult times in their life. For others, the adversities are chronic and can even result in a more egregious fate.

On a macro scale it has reached the level of a pandemic with nearly every country experiencing heightened numbers of suicides and people availing of social and psychological services. The phenomenon also seems to be getting younger as well. This can in part be explained by a society that breeds the notion of acceptance and awareness without substance and sufficient supports in place.

This can also be explained by environmental changes such as the rise of technology and social media, greater disparities in wealth, pollution, the modern diet, and a transition from a collective society unified by common goals and beliefs to one that has become highly globalised and hyper fixated on individualism. While this has never been perfect, societies now more than ever tend to lack a coherent bond, identity, and inherently genuine support system for those who are suffering in silence from an invisible virus.

From a Psychological perspective, this chronic level of adversity and disturbance to an individual’s mental state is pervasive throughout many neurodevelopmental and other cognitive related conditions such as Autism, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, ADHD, OCD etc. Many people like myself who have conditions like these battle on a daily basis to try and achieve some kind of balance or stability in their cognition, despite often giving off the appearance that they are in a state of mental homeostasis.

With all that said the chance of a good quality of life can seem hopeless for some. A seemingly predetermined life of despair and suffering. Contrary to this line of thinking, it does not have be that way as there are positive changes that can be implemented. For those who are fortunate enough to be in a good state of mental health and genuinely care about others well-being, you can help by raising awareness of the issues and pushing for a better healthcare system.

You can also look out for and try to help people who are close to you that may be struggling, whether it be your family, friends, or neighbours. Despite this we do ultimately live in an individualised society and often times it is only you who can truly improve your own mental health by bringing about positive changes in your own life.

While it is easier said than done here are some things you can do in your own life to instigate a positive change going forward. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Try to make small improvements to your diet, whether that is eating more, eating less, or changing the types of foods you eat to be healthier. Try to reduce time spent on social media platforms such as Instagram, where everyone’s lives can seem perfect. Try to exercise as much as possible, whether that is in the form of joining a sport, lifting weights in the gym, or even just going for a short walk every day, as it can improve your physical and mental state. Another key technique is to try and focus on only the things that are in your control.

All too often we get fixated and worried about events that we cannot do anything about which further plays into our negative thinking patterns. It is about breaking these patterns by taking a hold of things that we can control. For instance, we cannot control what others will do or say, but we can control how we choose to react. Another helpful strategy is to plan out your day as best as you can by creating a daily routine and attempting to stick to it as best as possible.

This should reinforce positive change as we are taking back control of our lives. Try also to find something that you excel at and/or are passionate about and try to set small realistic goals that are attainable in order to improve your skills and build confidence in your life.

You can also use rewards for these goals to help incentivise the process. This will help fill your time, keeping your mind occupied and focused on improving yourself going forward. As you progress you should start to gain confidence in yourself and your abilities resulting in increased self-esteem and self-worth.

In conclusion it is not easy to make these changes to improve your mental state and takes a lot of hard work to change your life for the better, but once you achieve these goals you should be well on your way to obtaining a state of good mental health. Although these methods and strategies can be effective, it is still important to talk to someone you trust or a healthcare professional such as a psychologist. And always remember never give up!

Mental health awareness week – Paul Isaacs

Mental health awareness week – Paul Isaacs

Mental health awareness week – an article by Paul Isaacs 

Mechanisms Of Mental Health

Mental health is something that can and does change over time, the world moves on regardless and so do you.

Sometimes this is not the internal feeling however this can be influenced by many different, nuanced, person centred and often inter linking factors.

  • Core beliefs (warped worldviews vs. connected authentic outlooks) 
  • Self-Reflection (the ability to manage your own selfhood) 
  • Information Processing (the way in which the brain filters information)
  • Nervous System Responses (many mental health conditions mean the nervous system is overused) 
  • Emotional Regulation (the ability to recognise, filter and mange yours and others emotional frequencies)
  • Environment (caregiving, educational & community)
  • Attachment, Friendship & Relationship Dynamics (poor boundaries, emotional incest, projection & manipulative behaviours)

Everything Is Linked 

These factors (in various guises, degrees, and presentations) will have an impact on someone’s idea of “self”, personal expectations vs. connected one’s, perception of danger and threat, how one internalises their own emotions and healthy spaces for expressing and objective reasoning, boundaries, and healthy modelling of friendships and relationships.

Paul Isaacs 2022 

Mental health awareness week – Mala Thapar

Mental health awareness week – Mala Thapar

Mental health awareness week – an article by Mala Thapar

It is Mental health awareness week 2022 – the theme for this year is “loneliness”. This article is to share concerns with the hope that this will comfort and encourage you to share your story as it could empower and benefit others.

I have been part of Anna Kennedy Online since 2012, recently the role of a culture campaign and communications officer for the charity. In April 2021, I attended an event about racism in SEND hosted by U21. Click here to read this. I spoke about lived-in experiences based upon racism within SEND.

For me, racism was finally on the agenda after the torrid murder of George Floyd. It was shocking witnessing comments from people whom I considered friends from inner circles when trying to have that “difficult conversation”. Subsequently, this led to a very lonely time in ways that I never imagined. Then the racist abuse aimed at the three English players who missed penalty kicks during the world cup was unforgivable.

Concurrently, I was fighting for my son’s educational rights. Thankfully, I had close and supportive friends and expressed my disappointment and shared my change of direction to avoid further offence after being made to feel like an outsider. I began networking with new people in safer spaces, and meeting like-minded people reinforced that I was not alone anymore.

Throughout many years, not much has changed. There have been countless examples of racism in the media, Seni and recently Child Q, which was despicable.

When you are a parent of a disabled child or young adult, you are already facing discriminative barriers; however, when you are from a different background, the discrimination is intolerable.

Parents regularly experience unconscious bias and are accused of being “aggressive”, with no understanding of cultural differences and no interest in learning why this exists among black and brown families. Microaggressions entwined with gaslighting are sadly part of everyday life when they should not be.

“The right support, right place, and right time”

Special Need Jungle published: The casual bias and daily discrimination faced by disabled children and their families from ethnic and marginalised communities. The content is accurate and shared with the DfE before the SEND review publication click here to read this report. The DfE published: “SEND review: right support, right place, right time”. When is the “right support, right place, right time” for families from marginalised communities? Despite factual evidence shared beforehand.

Dr Anna Kennedy OBE has consistently said: “Why should children with Autism be treated like second class citizens,” which is a fact.

My message is: “Why should the global majority of people with Autism be treated like third-class citizens”?

Anna Kennedy Online have created a survey we must hear your views.

Please click here to complete this brief survey and share it with your friends and family.

Culture Campaign