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Inspirational Mum On A Mission: Anna Kennedy OBE

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Inspirational Mum of two, Anna Kennedy OBE has been a trailblazer for Autism Awareness since the 1990’s; when her two boys, Patrick and Angelo, and were diagnosed with Autism. When Anna couldn’t find a school that could meet her boy’s needs, Anna and her husband Sean remortgaged their home with the support of local parents and built one! This was just start of an incredible journey that has consequently helped shape and changed the lives of thousands of people diagnosed with Autism, along with the parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum….

Click here to read the full article published by Brood Magazine.

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Record breaking 75k nominations at National Diversity Awards

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The UK’s largest diversity awards in association with ITV News took place on Friday 16th September at the breath-taking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. A number of special guests stepped out in support of the incredible role models and community organisations who have changed the lives of so many.

A record-breaking 75,000 people nominated this year alone with 126 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide. The evening kicked off with a minute’s silence, paying tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, followed by founder of the NDA’s Paul Sesay discussing the importance of the National Diversity Awards.

Anna Kennedy OBE was one of eight finalists shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievers Award. Anna has been raising autism awareness and acceptance since 1999 after her two sons were diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

Due to the lack of services, she has been a co-founder of two schools, a Vocational College, Residential Home, and Chairperson of UK Autism Charity AnnaKennedyonline.

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Anna shared: ‘This is the third time I have been shortlisted and each time I have met some wonderful and inspirational individuals who have been and continue to be trailblazers for their own cause. Congratulations to all the shortlisted nominees and winners and keeping doing what you’re doing and making a difference.’

Anna spoke to Dame Kelly Holmes to congratulate her on her win as Celebrity of the Year.

Anna first met Kelly in 2012 when she was a Team Leader Games Maker looking after VIPs for the Olympics and Paralympics.

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My petition has reached almost 12000 signatures!!

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Thank you to everyone who has signed my petition. I am pleased to share that it is in Woman Magazine today.

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My aim is that I would like to call for Local Authorities to fulfil their duty of care by making provision for the lifetime needs, such as education, housing, employment, health, social care, and medical care for each individual diagnosed autistic and other overlapping conditions living within their local authority.

We also need to raise the status of our care and support workers so that it better reflects the skills, which are vital and much needed of our care professionals.

A campaign is needed to raise the status of our support workers and bring it into line with other professions. They are the backbone of our society.

Perception needs to change that care work is unskilled and a low status career which it is clearly not. This commitment by Local Authorities and our Government will decrease the anxiety and stress that parents experience and provide the much-needed reassurance and a peace of mind.

I would appreciate it if you would share my petition: www.change.org/Annapetition

Sending best wishes and positive vibes.

Anna Kennedy OBE

 

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Hull to host UK Youth Parliament annual conference

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Hull is to host this year’s UK Youth Parliament annual conference. Members of Youth Parliament aged 11 to 18, from all over the UK will visit the city between 22 and 24 July for the conference being held at Hull University.

One of our Young Patrons, Logan Richard, age 13, is a Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) representing Hull shared:

“I’m really looking forward to the annual conference because we can talk about issues affecting young people with Youth Parliament reps from lots of other cities. It’s good to hear other young people’s experiences, thoughts, and ideas. This year, Hull Youth Parliament Members will be raising the issues of wellbeing and mental health. I’m sure we will have a great conference and that we will successfully voice the opinions of 11- to 18-year-olds and make a difference.”

Click here to read the full article.

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Warren Clark Golfing Dreams

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Anna Kennedy OBE was honoured and proud to have been asked on Friday to be a Patron of the Warren Clark Golfing Dreams registered charity, set up to deliver S.N.A.G Golf (Starting New at Golf) and Tri Golf to disabled, and disadvantaged, individuals, and groups for free.

Mainly through golf related activities, the charity set out to make a difference to people’s lives, encouraging them to be socially active, and challenge themselves to take part in sport.

Through their fun sessions, which are inclusive for all, they do team building activities, encourage people to socialise, have fun, reduce isolation, and spend time together.

Warren, whom the charity is named after, is a young man with Autism and learning disabilities. Warren is passionate about golf and represented team GB at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Warren is a qualified S.N.A.G Golf coach and loves to share his passion with others. Introducing golf to a wide range of disadvantaged people is what Warren dreams to do and does.

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In the summer of 2019 Warren Clark Golfing Dreams attended over thirty-five local events and introduced golf to over 6,000 people.

Whilst spending quality time with their own family members and friends, people from all walks of life come together in our sessions, meet new people, work as a team, and learn to communicate with others. People with physical and learning disabilities, and differences of faith and culture interact in our community sessions where we teach golf, teamwork, and social tolerance.

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Though only a few years old, Warren Clark Golfing Dreams has already received a lot of support from local schools, colleges, charities, councils, businesses, and sporting organisations which include Linden Lodge School, the National Autistic Society, the Yume Project, EDGA (European Disabled Golf Association), the Arctic One Foundation, and West Sussex County Council to name but a few.

Their organisation has been previously funded by Sport England to purchase a Snag Golf Inflatable which was the first in the U.K.

Anna shared: “Warren is an amazing, kind, and caring young man and fantastic role model. He has volunteered at the Golf Centre since he was 10 years old. His passion for teaching golf to autistic children and adults as well as individuals with varying disabilities is clear to see. He spoke to me about his exciting future plans with the support from his family and the golf club. I am excited to be Patron and will support him where I can”.

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An article by our young Patron – Callum 

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I am Callum I am fifteen and I am a young patron for Anna Kennedy Online.

I love dance so much and this week I was asked to be a guest performer at a school dance competition that I used to compete in when I was in primary school.
It was in a big theatre, and I felt strange that they would want me to be the guest performer and remembered me from competing which was years ago!

During the comp I helped out at the back with my old school dance teacher and helped entertain the kids my sister was one of them, one of the little kids said I was the best dancer she had ever seen lol I also made my old school dancer teacher cry when I danced.

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When I went on stage my music wouldn’t play so I was stood there for ages which gets me a bit stressed as I didn’t know what was going to happen. I like to know what is happening and felt silly just standing there.

Finally, a lady came to talk to me about when I started dancing and asked me to give a message to people I do not really like talking but i told them to never stop any disability stop you doing what you love and believe in yourself!

At last, my music worked. I loved performing on the stage I’m always happy when I’m dancing and don’t really get nervous, I shocked everyone when I pulled out all my tricks and people actually stood up when I finished dancing which was cool, people thought I choreographed the whole thing, but I just know my music and freestyle what I feel at the time

I love being able to show people what I can do and that having autism and ADHD should never stop you doing what you love.

It felt good to be back doing a solo on stage which I have not done for ages when I am dancing is when I am happy!

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Heidi (Callum’s Mum) shared:

“Watching Callum on that stage made me burst with pride, I was worried how he would handle all the technical problems, but he handled it like a true professional.
Seeing him as a guest performer at a competition he has competed in made me quite emotional. He has had a lot of struggles and tough times recently but watching him so happy and alive when he is dancing means everything to me, Autism ADHD and anxiety is tough, but he does not let it hold him back”.

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Most Dedicated Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Media Platform 2022

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Once again, we are thrilled to announce that Women’s Radio Station of which Anna Kennedy OBE is a presenter talking ‘All things Autism’ since 2018 has been awarded the “Most Dedicated Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Media Platform 2022” category in the Greater London Enterprise Awards.

Women’s Radio Station Support’s Women’s Well-being and Mental Health, totally entertaining and positively interactive entertaining shows with expert presenters and Celebrities, on-air 24/7 throughout the UK and globally broadcasting our team are dedicated and passionate in Supporting all Women.

Congratulations to the team!!!

www.womensradiostation.com

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Winners of the Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards!

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Winners of the Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards were announced and Anna Kennedy Online won the Jim Mansell Outstanding Contribution Award!!!

“Anna has amazing commitment not just for the charity she set up in 2009 for parents, carers and autistic people providing advice and training (borne out of having 2 sons with autism) but the amazing projects she is involved with.  These include running a school for 23 years, ‘First Steps’, to help autistic people set up a business, anti-bullying campaigns and flash mobs.  Her drive and passion are inspirational.”

Click here for details!

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A Mother’s Journey

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From the moment of my daughter’s birth, I was backwards and forwards seeing doctors and specialists due to her various stomach issues. One specialist told me that she was ‘spoilt’!

This resulted in her having to go through a colonoscopy when she was 3 years old. Thankfully, it showed nothing and while a dairy intolerance was diagnosed it was a mystery why it did not flair up on holidays and school breaks.

Alongside the stomach pains my daughter had very disturbed sleep and night terrors which ended with her being monitored via a referral to the Evelina sleep clinic.

The monitoring proved inconclusive, aside from the fact that it picked up brain activity explained by the clinic as dolphin like – dolphin’s brains never completely switch off or relax as they always need to be alert, meaning that my daughter was never completely rested even at night.

Reading over the notes again the report also identified on days when her routine was different her sleep pattern was even more disturbed.

I was starting to piece the puzzle together and thought we should explore ASD. However, the therapist we saw when she was eleven told us it was too early to diagnose, and we should wait until she was older. As I knew the waiting list is so long, I thought I would be proactive and ask my GP for a referral to CAHMS, a year later I had heard nothing and although assuming this would be normal, I did chase my GP, only to find that the referral had not even been sent.

During the covid lockdown my daughter’s behaviour was very difficult, I could not speak to her. My voice sent her insane. It grated on her as did my breathing. Home schooling was a disaster, I just had to leave her and hope for the best. It went against all my instincts. There was aggressive behaviour, aggressive language, screaming, and tantrums which I know now were extreme meltdowns and occasionally it became physical. 

As a mother it definitely was not my finest hour and I really struggled. My whole presence just upset her. In desperation we booked a private appointment with an autism specialist who I firmly believe saved my soul! She told me not to doubt myself as I was an experienced mother to another daughter with ASD, and to parent my daughter as if she had been diagnosed with ASD along with PDA (pathological demand avoidance.) With this in mind we began a new regime – days off school were allowed, I ignored swearing and meltdowns, did not push anything, and made no early morning plans – and finally my daughter’s behaviour settled.

In June 2019 we had our first zoom appointment with a nurse from CAHMS, a 90-minute chat with my daughter sitting next to me which she found unbearable. Although we both found this a really stressful experience a referral was agreed, and my daughter’s school and I began the endless filling in of forms.

Our next meeting was a year later, more questions, more forms, and although the school had highlighted no special areas, we were allowed to see a therapist who unfortunately then left.

We obtained a referral for ADOS, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, which is used in diagnosis and assessment of ASD, and waited another year for the assessment.

Finally, my daughter’s assessment was done on a Friday, calling back on the following Tuesday I had confirmation of ASD, a journey of just over 3 years for diagnosis within the CAHMS system.

Whilst every individual at CAHMS has seemed competent there seems no further help for ASD other than family therapy.

I want to say a special thank you to Carrie Grant who is involved with autism and was always at the end of an email with words of wisdom and a non-judgemental understanding that only another mother to children on the spectrum can relate to. Just writing this reminds me of the day I was sobbing after the experience of shopping for stationary with my daughter, not many people would understand why this would make me cry, but Carrie got it.

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Bobby recognised with national autism award

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Team BRIT GT4 driver Bobby Trundley has been recognised at a major national awards ceremony.

22-year-old Bobby is a driver for Team BRIT and was named ‘Young Person of the Year’ at the Anna Kennedy Charity ‘Autism Heroes Awards’ on Saturday 11th June. This follows his earlier recognition from the charity in 2016, where he received the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Sport’ award.

Click here to read the full article.

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