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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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Design a poster competition!

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Once again Watford FC collaborate with AKO with “Design your own Give us a Break” poster competition!

The Hornets are delighted to once again support Anna Kennedy Online’s ‘Give Us A Break’ campaign during this year’s anti-bullying week with a design your own poster competition following the success of the 2020 competition.

The ‘Give Us A Break’ campaign was launched back in 2013 to highlight the impact bullying has on individuals, particularly those on the autism spectrum, with the aim of creating environments and cultures where everyone feels safe and supported without the fear of experiencing bullying at schools, online or within their local community.

This time last year, to help promote the campaign and anti-bullying week, Junior Hornets were asked to submit their own poster designs that represented what anti-bullying means to them with Logan (10) and Daniel (11) creating the winning designs in their respective age categories. Click here to see last year’s winning posters.

Following on from the fantastic designs submitted for the 2020 competition, Junior Hornets are once again asked to design their own anti-bullying poster for their chance to win a player card signed with a personalised message by their favourite player.

The poster should demonstrate what anti-bullying means to the designer and how it is best promoted to raise awareness to others.

Competition entries will be split into two different age groups, 0-10 and 11-16, with one winning design chosen by Watford FC staff and representatives from Anna Kennedy Online for each age group.

In addition to the personalised message, the winning designs will be shared on both the club’s and the charity’s social media accounts, so Junior Hornets should make their design as eye-catching as possible so it stands-out from the other entries.

To enter, simply send in a photo of the completed poster to junior.hornets@watfordfc.com before 5pm on Monday November 22.

Please be sure to include the name and age of the designer, as well as their favourite Watford FC player.

The winners will then be contacted via email with further details on claiming the winning prize.

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Congratulations to our young charity Patron T’mya Fyffe

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A TALENTED singer from Thornton has reached the semi-finals of Miss Junior Teen Great Britain 2022.

T’mya Fyffe, 14, has beaten off competition from across the country to be named as one of the semi-finalists.

The gifted singer T’mya Fyffe who has autism, was previously a  contestant on The Voice Kids UK 2019 on ‘Team Will.I.am’ as well as being nominated for a National Diversity Award 2021 and is a Young Patron for the Anna Kennedy online autism charity, who Harvey Price is an Ambassador for.

Her mum, Evelyn Ann, told the Champion: “T’mya is so excited! As part of the competition she will be raising money for the Together for Short Lives charity.

“She travels already over the UK performing and supporting for lots of different charities. For three years, she has supported The Liverpool Women’s Hospital Honeysuckle bereavement team at their baby loss remembrance service, performing in St George’s Hall and the Isla Gladstone.

“T’mya was invited to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as recognition for the charity work she does.

“Teenagers from across Great Britain will compete for the crown in a spectacular grand final. The winner of Miss Teen Great Britain will walk away with some incredible prizes – including a cash prize! The grand final will be held in 2022 in Blackpool.

“The weekend of Miss Teen Great Britain is set to be full of fun, with the finalists enjoying a Beauty Queen Challenge Day, a pyjama diva party and much more!

“T’mya has said that it would mean a lot to her to be able to represent her hometown and win the Miss Teen Great Britain crown!”

Together for Short Lives is a leading UK charity for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.

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Our Take 5 Campaign continues – Anna Kennedy speaks to Kacey Ainsworth and Aston Avery on Gateway Radio

 

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Anna Kennedy speaks to Kacey Ainsworth and Aston Avery on Gateway Radio talking about the Take 5 campaign.

Talking about the importance of taking time out to recharge your batteries!

Our guests Kacey Ainsworth and Giuliana Wheater are are helping us launch our refresh Take5 Wellbeing campaign.

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Kacey shared: “As lockdown lifts, I find myself feeling anxious about emerging, if I am anxious how does that feel for the people, I live with on the autism spectrum? Just one of the many worries rolling round my head at 2am. And that is before I even get to my own life and work. I find it hard to take time just for myself.

However, during lockdown I started going to a zoom yoga class early on Sunday mornings and I told everyone in the house it was the one hour in the week when I am not to be disturbed. It is hard to feel Yin or Yang if there is World War 3 erupting outside the door. It does not always work but after few weeks they all began to respect my class as I was firm in reiterating it was My time.

Now it is not 5 mins, it is a whole hour, and many cannot see their way to doing that, but it sets me up for the week in so many ways. And I return to the feeling the practise gives to me on that Sunday morning during the week when things feel more chaotic. Even five minutes of breathing, eyes closed, checking my body for tension, and trying to let it go helps me get through the week. You must take time for you.
Breathe Much love autism community. Kacey Ainsworth.”

Please watch the interview below!

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Anna Kennedy Online – our charity’s “Take 5” Campaign continues
Let’s keep talking..

 

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“Take 5” is our ​Mental Health and wellbeing campaign which is pivotal for Anna Kennedy Online and we have resources to share and hope that this will help the autism community. Click here for details on our website.

Caring for a child with autism can stress parents beyond their limits and remember you are not alone. In the following article, we share how it feels and this reaches out to you positively.

We understand that it is hard to Take 5 for parents of children who have a disability. As a parent we all have days when the pressure of the week can get too much. Parents are trying their best juggling care, housework, work, taxi service, reading some of those wonderful Special Educational Needs documents EHCP that are thrown at you.

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Anna Kennedy shared:

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About 8 years ago we launched our “Take 5” Campaign this was due to speaking to parents who find it difficult to take time for themselves to recharge their batteries including myself.  During these difficult and uncertain times, it is even more important now for our own ​Mental Health and wellbeing as parents and carers of children and adults with a disability where we are on call 24/7.

I have spoken to parents and carers for many years who are feeling stretched above their limits and receiving a low level of support and juggling many hats and the pressure of the week can get too much. Parents and carers for many years who are feeling stretched above their limits and receiving a low level of support especially during the school holidays and now during these difficult times.

Parents are trying their best juggling care, housework, work, taxi service, reading some of those wonderful Special Educational Needs documents EHCP etc that are thrown at you. As a first-time parent going through the SEN system, you feel it is written almost in another language which you have to familiarise yourself with jargon used in the Special Educational Needs world.

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This is all on a few hours’ sleep if you are lucky and parents grabbing a cat nap here and there if the opportunity occurs.

Sometimes we just need a quiet 5 mins whatever it maybe to do. A cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, listen to a couple of your favourite songs that remind you of your youth or go out onto the trampoline and have a jump.

Parenting children that have a diagnosis of Autism and overlapping conditions can be challenging not only for us parents but for the individual who you care for, love, and cherish.

We are the glue holding everything together so it is about taking just 5 minutes as and when you can, even if it is to shut yourself in the bathroom and have a scream! Do not be so hard on yourself you are doing the best you can taking it one day at a time some days good some days not good.

Our Wellbeing Charity Ambassador the lovely Giuliana Wheater is sharing some of her wonderful advice on ways to get through your days as we emerge slowly from Lockdown ….

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Giuliana Wheater: Our Charity well-being Ambassador shared this wonderful resource:

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From Chaos to Calm as Lockdown Lifts – The Power of Touch

Touch is key to boosting immunity!!! Perfect for these times we find ourselves in! 

It also grounds and boosts our mental health too which is hugely linked to our physical health.

Massage naturally stimulates happy hormones and coping chemicals, most notably serotonin (the hormone of happiness, confidence, self-esteem), oxytocin (love and nurture), dopamine (pleasure, focus, concentration, and motivation along with other higher or executive brain functions) and endorphins (pain relief, euphoria, and wellbeing).

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Therapeutic touch through massage also grounds, calms, relaxes, eases stress which can lead to ill health, lowers/stabilises blood pressure and hugely boosts memory and learning.

As Michelangelo noted hundreds of years ago “to touch is to give life”. Touch is the core sense which is present when as babies we explore the world before we open our eyes and is the last sense remaining until we pass.

In a nutshell human need touch to thrive.

Experiments from the 1950’s/60’s with Harry Harlow, although controversial due to different times, proved that touch boosts immunity, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, physical health, and growth as well as better bonding skills and trust, far greater resilience to stress and less behavioural issues.

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Leaders in the field such as Darlene Francis, Michael Meaden and Tiffany Field continue to prove these results to this day.

Touch also boosts resilience to peer pressure and makes for better relationships both at school and work as well as leading to financial gain as a result.

Great as so many of begin the return to work.

So please watch my short video and see how you can begin massaging yourselves, family, and friends with just a few very simple techniques.

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Our Charity Ambassador Kacey Ainsworth shares her thoughts:

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‘As lockdown lifts, I find myself feeling anxious about emerging, if I am anxious how does that feel for the people, I live with on the autism spectrum?

Just one of the many worries rolling round my head at 2am. And that is before I even get to my own life and work.

I find it hard to take time just for myself.

However, during lockdown I started going to a zoom yoga class early on Sunday mornings and I told everyone in the house it was the one hour in the week when I am not to be disturbed.

It is hard to feel Yin or Yang if there is World War 3 erupting outside the door. It does not always work but after few weeks they all began to respect my class as I was firm in reiterating it was My time.

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Now it is not 5 mins, it is a whole hour, and many cannot see their way to doing that, but it sets me up for the week in so many ways.

And I return to the feeling the practise gives to me on that Sunday morning during the week when things feel more chaotic.

Even five minutes of breathing, eyes closed, checking my body for tension, and trying to let it go helps me get through the week.

You must take time for you.  Breathe ?‍♀️Much love autism community. Kacey Ainsworth.

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Finally, we must remember to take care of their own needs and the better we look after ourselves the more effective we can help our children. Please remember you are not alone and we as a community are in this together.

The following articles covers a great deal of information about stress facts and information and remember taking a few minutes out will be beneficial to you long term.

 

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Life in Lockdown – an article by one of our young patrons Josh Burgess

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My experience of lockdown have been unique. I have been shielding for almost a year, which has been very stressful for me and my family because myself and one of my brothers are classed as being clinically extremely vulnerable, so we can not come into close contact with other people.

I have a condition called PCD which effects my lungs and hearing, as well as RP which effects my vision. I have to go into hospital regularly to get IVs to help my lungs. I have had 3 hospital stays since the start of lockdown last March.

Normally when I’m in hospital for the two weeks of treatment, there are special play therapists that would come in and help by entertaining me and taking my mind off things. There is a music therapist that helps me loads, music helps me to express how i feel about myself and it’s my outlet when things are going wrong, but due to COVID-19 a lot of the play workers aren’t allowed to come round in person so there is less things to do to pass the time.

COVID-19 has effected my social life massively. I’ve missed going to school, seeing my friends and going outside this past year. My school have been very supportive in trying to keep me learning and interacting with my classmates remotely.

Not every thing is bad though, before lockdown and the pandemic I felt like me and my family could not spend a lot of quality time together, so in a way i am grateful for the lockdown.

I’m not to sure what is going to happen about the vaccines for children and when i can stop shielding but i am sure what ever happens in this world as long I am with my family I know I will be safe.

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Life in Lockdown – an article by one of our young patrons Jack Azagury

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Life in lockdown for Jack is quite challenging but we have an incredible support bubble and a very caring school who touches base with us many times a day to see Jack for lessons but also just to check in and see how we are.

That has made a huge difference to his life and the life of his little brother who has shown incredible maturity for a 6 year old. Jack is really missing his routines, the social interactions at school which we have tried to recreate via Zooms and sometimes driving by a friend’s house and waiving hello has helped.

The main issue here is that Jack doesn’t really have a good grasps on the concept of time and when he has very bad days and cries at the drop of a hat, he often turns to us and says “ I feel trapped, when is Corona finishing”. We try and use social stories to help him understand but these feelings of confinement and confusion are growing by the day.

For the 1st time since we can remember Jack has mentioned that “He has a loneliness inside” and although it’s not literal as he is surrounded with love 24/7, it’s definitely a manifestation of his frustrations due to the restrictions imposed on his/all our lives and after a Year of that .. well, it just takes it’s toll.

A saving grace has been his new obsession with Aer Lingus! He watches videos all day long to learn more about the airline and is drawing the planes non-stop. Aer Lingus even got in touch to say they loved his drawings on Instagram. He was over the moon. Every little helps!

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Life in Lockdown – an article by one of our young patrons Callum Kirrage

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Hi I’m Callum I’m 13 I am finding lockdown really hard  I don’t like that I can’t see people like my nan and grandad I feel like I’m forced to be bored as I have ADHD as well as autism staying indoors is hard as I need to get energy out and feels like being in prison! 

I am going to school but I find that hard as I go to school but can’t go dancing at the weekend which I love it’s hard for my brain to understand why i can’t so I get really frustrated then I no my behaviour gets worse which I don’t like and I get angry.

I love to dance I can do dance on zoom but I find zoom hurts my brain as It goes glitchy which stresses me so I just walk out and stop doing it I can’t wait till things can get back to normal!!! 

When I’m stressed I put on my music and just freestyle in my room to try forget thing’s. Its hard as I don’t have much space but it helps get some of my stress out i really miss performing,  when you feel stressed try and find something that can help take you into a different place something that makes you happy. 

If you are finding lockdown hard you are not on your own you are not the only one we are in this together.

Try and tell someone how you are feeling I’m trying to get better at doing that to instead of just getting annoyed at people, Corona virus you can go now thankyou !!!

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