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Today’s guest on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio in Essex was Thomas Henley 

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Thomas Henley is an Autism and Mental Health advocate, creating YouTube videos, podcasts and documentaries.

With a degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University Of Manchester, a Commonwealth gold medal in Taekwondo, and a talent for public speaking, Thomas seeks to raise awareness and support others on their own personal growth journey.

Thomas’ motives come from his long history with Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders and Panic Disorders. Experienced in Special Needs teaching, human sciences, and how to help others understand his conditions, he seeks to bring a new face to Autism and Mental Health disorders.

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Contact details: Website – https://thomashenley.co.uk/

Social media details below:

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Anna Kennedy – Women’s Radio Station award

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I have been a presenter on Women’s Radio Station since the beginning talking ‘All things Autism’.

The station has received a brand new award: “Most Dedicated Mental Health & Wellbeing Online Radio Service – UK” in the Small Business Awards 2021 of Corporate Visions whoop!!

Congratulations to all the presenters and founders Howard and Russell we volunteer our time to spread the word of all our causes.

 

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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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Today’s guest on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio in Essex was Georgia McCormick

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Georgia shared:

Hi my name is Georgia McCormick. Slightly bonkers mum to two amazing boys, 19-year-old Isaac, and 14-year-old Archie. I am married to my long-suffering husband Scott. I am rather too keen on roast potatoes, cake, and a sucker for buying too many plants and crystals. So, pour yourself a large glass of wine or a big mug of coffee, while I ramble on. I was asked by Anna to contribute by writing this article and thought to myself, what on earth has she let herself in for? I promise to behave.

Anyhow, what a year it has been with COVID-19! It has been like watching a slow car crash seeing the devastation it is causing across the UK and the rest of the world. After shielding for 9 months, I brought it home from hospital to my family over Christmas (lovely Christmas present!) and to say it was not traumatic is a lie. My youngest son unfortunately was hit hardest by it.

I spent 12 solid days sleeping on the floor beside him, whilst still ill myself. Two ambulances later with Oxygen levels slipping was enough to tip me slightly over the edge.  You know, my biggest fear the whole way through this was him having to attend hospital, Archie being Autistic, would I or would not I be allowed to stay with him?

Because of all the COVID-19 measures in place, plagued my anxiety daily, there would be no way he would cope with hospital on his own. This was just something that still is not clear in the hospital policies, given many of us do have children with additional needs. I really feel this is an area that needs publicly addressing.   Luckily, we did not have to find out.

My husband then caught it and ended up in hospital, he has Multiple Sclerosis, and it was touch and go initially, but he too fought his way back to health. Then my eldest caught it, and he soldiered through with some horrible sensory feelings in his nose, luckily no major breathing problems.   I feel extremely fortunate we got through it all, and really have put that whole horrible situation in the bin, I hope to never go through that again.

My eldest son Isaac is a phenomenal musician, and up until COVID-19 was gigging a lot in various music establishments, with his band across the UK who are highly sought after in the PUNK world.  COVID-19 has seen the horrible death of the music industry now, which is soul destroying.

Music has always been Isaacs thing from when he was young. He picked up the guitar at age 4 and has never put it down (Also cost us a lot in guitars over the years!)  Little did we know when Isaac developed severe Tourette Syndrome at 14, that the guitar would also be his saving grace. It stopped his tics in its tracks whilst he played.

Now as an adult the music scene has embraced him and vice versa, it is a remarkably diverse world in the music scene, and you can really be who you are instead of trying to fit in.  A far cry from the trouble we had in school, trying to get the teachers to understand Tourette Syndrome, I spent most weeks going into school educating staff.

Some were great, but disapprovingly so many were not.  The time at home has given Isaac time to write more songs, but obviously he is so keen to rekindle his social life. After all, at 19 you really do not want to be stuck indoors all the time.

My youngest son Archie who I have been home educating for 9 years now, where 1 mainstream and 2 specialist provisions could not meet his needs. He is thriving in the home educating world and the home educating community is full of wonderfully diverse people too.

I feel sad that peoples experience of home education is now one of strict COVID-19 rules, a strict curriculum to follow and nothing like home education and its flexible approach.  Normally we meet up regularly with other home ed families, learn together and have a wealth of resources between us.

Archie has completed lots of online courses, has a special friend (unlike in school) who he speaks to regularly, is currently taking a Japanese language course and is such a happy lad. I could ramble on all day about how far we have come; how much he has taught me over the years too, and that I am forever grateful I could do this.

A far cry from when I removed him from school age 5, they were bad days with bad mental health issues, that I struggle to speak about it in all honesty, but because that chapter is finished.  School is not somewhere where all children thrive unfortunately.

My only advise I can offer other parents now having to home-school, is try not to let it be a battle ground. I promise you your child will not fall so far behind; they will never amount to anything like they are constantly being told by various people.  Do not believe the fear that they must be a certain level at a certain stage, nonsense.

They just need to be safe, happy and get through these strange times like us. The stories I can tell you about how far children can come, despite gaps in education are amazing. Children learn in so many ways, and life skills are equally important if not more to our amazing children.

For your own sanity take some time out, you are not a teacher, (well some of you maybe are). Save sometime for yourself, work on your own mental health to keep yourselves well.  I love gardening, reading, and trying not to buy more plants!! Shut the laptop and go make some cakes or order a takeaway!

Anyway, Finally I am also retraining for a new career.  Where I gave up my lecturing job to home- ed’ 9 years ago, I am now training to become a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist.  Even my brain is learning again as an adult because learning has no age restrictions.  And I blinking love it, apart from the essays!

I do hope I have not bored you all too much! Keep safe my lovelies and chin up.

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Anna’s guests this week at Women’s Radio were Co-founders of Acrobat-Global who spoke on ‘All things Autism’

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Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on Women’s Radio Station was Joe, Zanne and Kathryn Co-founders of Acrobat-Global. ‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

Joe, Zanne and Kathryn Co-founders of Acrobat-Global shared the following article from their radio interview:

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In April 2020, Joe Butler, an education consultant with over twenty years of experience working with autistic children and young people, teamed up with published authors, trainers and English language specialists, Zanne Gaynor and Kathryn Alevizos. Their unexpected lockdown collaboration was timely as Joe now found herself supporting autistic people, and their families, schools and settings from home, and Zanne and Kathryn had had their workshops cancelled. Their book, Is that clear? Effective communication in a neurodiverse world – Autism-inspired tips for allistic (non-autistic people) was published in October 2020 by Acrobat-Global.

Prior to publication, the book was reviewed by autistic and allistic readers from a wide range of backgrounds and professions, and the autistic readers contributed their own experiences and insights. The National Autistic Society and Autism Education Trust have also endorsed the book. Speaking at the virtual book launch in November 2020, former Minister of State for Care and Support Sir Norman Lamb passionately enthused:

If we could get this to become mainstream reading within the NHS, within any public service and within employer organisations, there are so many autistic people who currently have no employment, but who could work with support and with understanding … [the book] is a massive contribution which will make a difference to people’s lives.

From her Foreword, and throughout the book, Joe stresses that every autistic person is different. The book is no substitute for getting to know the individuals in your life and finding out from, and with, them what might support and enable effective communication at different times and in different contexts. What works for one person may not work for another. The best advice is to ask (or find out) what each individual needs from you.

Joe, Zanne and Kathryn are passionate about enabling allistic people to take more responsibility for effective communication, as autistic people are already having to work incredibly hard in what can be an illogical and unaccommodating world. The layout of the book is clear, simple and accessible and each chapter offers practical advice with bulleted tips at the end for quick reference. Paperback and Kindle versions of the book are available as well as a downloadable pdf.

Joe, Zanne and Kathryn have yet to meet in person but all say their lockdown project is something positive to have come out of the challenges of the last year. The book has already proved beneficial to parents, carers, teachers, lecturers, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, medical staff, firefighters, the police, journalists, employers and those responsible for HR, and many more, including for autistic people themselves in better articulating their needs.

Everyone will know an autistic person, making this an essential read for all.

For further information about the authors, contact Joe on Twitter @SENDsupportuk or email at joebutler@sendsupport.co.uk, or contact Zanne or Kathryn at gaynoralevizos@gmail.com or on Twitter @acrobatglobal.

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Ben Pearson talks on ‘All things Autism in Essex’

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Ben Pearson Autistic Entrepreneur Founder of Uptheir Clothing shared:

‘Being on the ‘All Things Autism in Essex’ show on Gateway 97.8 was a fantastic experience. My goal is to inspire others with autism to have the confidence to achieve their dreams, and if my story and advice from my appearance helps just one person, I’ll be extremely happy.

As someone with autism, appearing on the radio can be quite nerve wracking. However, Anna and Aston Avery were brilliant at easing any nerves and allowed me to speak freely about my experience of being an entrepreneur with autism and the launch of our anti-trolling t-shirt collection with Harvey Price.

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Harvey’s Law Collection
We have partnered with Harvey Price to create anti-trolling slogan t-shirts to raise awareness of Harvey’s Law.

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Available in sizes XS – 8XL, the Harvey’s Law t-shirt collection is widely accessible to all, regardless of size or gender.

With 6 eye-catching designs created in collaboration with Uptheir and Harvey Price, each t-shirt has a printed slogan to the chest promoting Harvey’s Law and speaking out about online trolls.

Click on the following link for more details: https://www.bigclothing4u.co.uk/harveys-law

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Lauren Lovejoy
An article for Mental Health Awareness Day 2020

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My name is Lauren Lovejoy and I was invited to a radio show hosted by Aston Avery and Anna Kennedy aired on the 1st October on Gateway 97.8. Click here to  listen to the interview. Click here to listen to “Storm” which is Lauren’s latest incredible song.

I am a young soul blues singer-songwriter and an Ambassador for The National Autistic society as I try to break the barriers and show that people with autism should still pursue their dreams as “everyone is good at something”.

I admit that the life with Autism is really challenging most of the times but it should not discourage us to pursue our dreams. We all know that with the right support we can achieve what we like in life regardless of disability. I really enjoyed my radio interview.

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We spoke about my experiences of being bullied in the past and how I was targeted for being different. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 14 so I never knew why I was so unique.

Bullying in those days was not addressed as rigorously as it is now and I wish the teaching staff at my primary and secondary school had recognised that I had mental health issues and supported me accordingly.

Unfortunately, being autistic made me especially vulnerable to bullying and increased my insecurities which led to experiencing emotional difficulties later in my adolescent life. That was one of the reasons why I decided to make people aware of the potential long-term consequences of bullying on mental health and wellbeing.

I spoke about how Covid-19 impacted my life and how I struggle wearing a mask.

Most people seem to forget that autism is a hidden disability and I am frequently judged by my physical appearance and people accuse me of lying or breaking the rules as I look ‘normal’.

I have sensitivity issues and certain textures and sounds upset me and cause me to have a meltdown. Wearing a Sunflower Badge helped me a bit, however I still get the looks when I enter a public space without a mask.

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We also spoke about two of Anna Kennedy’s events I took part in.

The first was Autism’s Got Talent where I performed a cover of Moonraker – a Bond hit originally sung by Shirley Bassey.

And I was so happy that Jake Wood (Max Branning from Eastenders) gave me a standing ovation and boosted my confidence and happiness.

I enjoyed this event very much as it was truly a wonderful experience.

At Anna’s other charity event, I was asked by Mitch Winehouse to perform with him on stage. We sang a duet of Summer Time which went down very well with the audience and we complimented each other’s voices.

This was a lovely experience and I was happy when he said he would love to perform with me again in the future and mentioned representing me to Island Records.

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However at the time, I was not managed well therefore the offer was never taken. My naivety and trust were severely abused and I experienced another form of bullying from the management team this time.

It took a great toll on my mental health but with support of kind people around me, I managed to put it all in the past and I deeply believe that one day I will get another opportunity and someone will take me under their wing.

That led to another topic we were talking about on the radio. We explored the theme of autistic people being taken advantage of or undermined by neurotypical people in showbiz. Unfortunately, the world is often cruel and some music managers tend to take advantage of the kind nature of autistic people and end up trying to damage their future.

I believe it is important to have a thick skin and some experience in this industry. I will always be true to myself, kind and hardworking because I believe that with a bit of luck I will find genuine people in this industry who will take me for who I am, appreciate my talent and help me achieve my goals.

The key thing is to have the right support and honest people around you so I want to raise awareness on how people can trick you and at one click of a finger take everything from you.

Despite lots of setbacks in the past, I will still pursue my music, singing and song writing path as this is one thing I know I am good at. Stage is the only place where I forget about my disability and I feel fully in control.  I know that there is a manager out there who will believe in me and support me with my career.

I will definitely write a book in the future!

I look forward to performing again in the near future at Autism’s Got Talent as I truly admire and respect Anna Kennedy for all she does and the opportunities she gives people like me.

Click here to listen to Lauren’s tracks on SoundCloud:

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Anna Kennedy OBE’s guest on Womens Radio Station on 22nd October is Kellie Barker founder of Born Anxious.

‘Born Anxious is a homegrown clothing label set up by Kellie Barker, mother of Oscar, an autistic child living in Herne Bay, Kent.

Kellie set up the clothing label in 2018 with two main objectives, which were to make the clothes as comfortable as possible, whilst also remaining planet friendly and to hold important information that will aim to help not only the child, but also the caregiver.

At 18 months old Oscar was given the diagnosis of autism, global delay and absence epilepsy.  Now five, Oscar faces many difficulties, one of which is wearing clothes with uncomfortable labels sewn into the seams, which causes discomfort and also itching.

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Following Oscar’s diagnosis, Kellie grew more familiar with children and adults who have disabilities and autism and noticed they all have their very own traits and needs, just like Oscar.

This gave her the inspiration to set up Born Anxious and what she could do for children, parents, and caregivers to make life just a little bit easier.

Oscar is also pre-verbal and can display unpredictable behaviours and reactions to the world surrounding him, which becomes difficult within a community that may not understand that he needs a wider birth than others.

Kellie’s clothing ranges come with messages printed on the clothing such as:

“BEE KIND, I HAVE AUTISM”,

“I’M ANXIOUS”

“MY MUM’S WINGING IT”

“I DON’T LIKE LOUD NOISE”.

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Bespoke messages, personal to the parent and child can also be printed on the clothing and accessory range.
Kellie Barker said; As an Autism mum myself I have tried to be as generic as possible in design and cover the whole spectrum, whilst remaining Gender Neutral, I carefully thought about what would work for my own son and decided to remove all labels by hand.

Born Anxious is a brand which raises Awareness of Autism and invisible disabilities in two ways, it can be worn to inform, or it can be worn in support.  All Born Anxious clothing have the inside labels removed, to make the items more comfortable to wear”.

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As well as supporting Autism and special needs, Born Anxious is pleased and proud to be official supporters of Kent Portage Service, The Kent Autistic Trust and SNAAP, Kent based charities supporting people with special needs and their families.

Since Born Anxious began in September 2018, owner Kellie Barker has appeared in numerous media including; print, broadcast and online.

These include: live interview on KMTV, KMFM, live radio interview with Eammon Holmes on Talk Radio, BBC South East News, Sun Online, The Metro, News Hook India, Uber Euro podcast.  Pick Me Up Magazine (Aug 19), double page feature on Born Anxious.

Dr Anna Kennedy OBE, founder of the Anna Kennedy Online charity, has joined Born Anxious as an ambassador. Anna is dedicated to promoting the inclusion and equality of children and adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout society.

Anna has also established two schools, a college, a respite home and set up an Autism’s Got Talent. This is an exciting new relationship and Born Anxious will be providing t-shirts for the Autism’s Got Talent event in October.

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Kellie has also formed relationships with:

Kellie’s interview it is aired on 22nd October 2019 at 1pm and 1 am on ‘All things Autism’ on Anna’s weekly radio show www.womensradiostation.com

For more details: 

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