Katie Price’s son becomes autism ambassador“Why should Harvey be hidden away? Just because of his disabilities, why should he be treated any different?”
After years of receiving online bullying, Katie Price’s son has become an ambassador for AKO
Harvey is supporting our anti-bullying campaign to help raise awareness of people like himself – and Katie says it’s also helped her meet other families like her own.
Please watch this powerful footage
Paul Newman is the Director and Secretary, Reprieve Media CIC and always supports Anna Kennedy Online. Every year our event is covered and please follow the link below to read this wonderful article.
Autism Hero Awards 2019 - an article by Paul Newman
Steven Smith is Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ on Womens Radio Station.
Steven was one of the charities first Patrons and continues to support AnnaKennedyOnline.
Who is Steven Smith?
Steven Smith was born in Coatbridge in Scotland. He was brought up in Whitley Bay, before briefly moving to London, followed by the seaside town of Brighton. It was in Brighton that he was first discovered his hairdressing skills. Steven later spent eight years living in America and working in Beverly Hills. On his return to London in the late 90s, started work in fashionable Knightsbridge, where he rose to fame.
Among his celebrity clientele, he has styled model Katie Price, actress Denise Welch, David Hasselhoff and the cast of Baywatch. Steven had his own column in The Sun newspaper advising hair and beauty. He was a regular on the Lorraine Kelly show, transforming GMTV viewers into their favourite stars. He completed a makeover for Lorraine herself, transforming her into movie legend, Elizabeth Taylor.
Steven has been a freelance writer and PR for the last ten years, combining showbiz interviews and travel with his eye for styling. His work has been published all over the world. He is now living in London W8.
How has working with Anna Kennedy online affected your life, and how have you got involved?
You do not need to have a family member living with autism to be affected by the stories and experiences of people with autism. To get involved in such a worthwhile campaign, you just need empathy and drive to make a difference. I was honoured to judge “Wear it for Autism”, an event where we gave people fashion makeovers as a reward for outstanding achievement.
Having judged many competitions in my time, you would think this would be an easy task! In reality, however, I was in tears after reading just two of the stories. What was highlighted in particular was the bullying of those who came under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Condition; it was horrifying. Of course, I wanted to help.
In honesty, I do not have any biological family members, with autism but I now have a big family in Anna Kennedy online. It has been five years since I became a patron and spearheading sponsorship and celebrity backing has been part of my role. I look forward to working with and helping the various acts at Autism Got Talent each year.
Many of the people in this outstanding community have become firm friends. I was chatting to OJ, one of last year’s acts, on their birthday. OJ is gender-neutral and bravely came out to their family at 14. They are among so many of the friends that have affected my life.
How do you relax?
Finding time to relax is so important, else you risk burn out. I am well aware of how hard it is for families caring for those living with autism, but if you do not stop and take ten minutes for yourself, you won’t be able to keep going.
Mindfulness can help – it involves acceptance. I pay attention to my thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.
Yoga and going to the gym are two of my favourite escapes.
“I’m a Celebrity” is on TV – do you watch it?
It is amazing how what we see as escapism can, in fact, educate and do more for causes that we can imagine. Anne Hegerty, the amazing brain from The Chase, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2005. Being on the show last year gave her a platform to explain her life and educate so many on the subject of Aspergers.
We have many LGBTQ performers in Autism Got Talent who are on the spectrum, so this year I am hoping that Caitlyn Jenner will promote Trans education. Diversity on these shows breaks down barriers and alleviates any fears when you come face to face with what is seen as different to the public.
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If you missed Steven’s interview it will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week. www.womensradiostation.com
My Top Tips when your son or daughter is given an Autism spectrum diagnosis.
I remember when both my sons who are now 26 and 29 were diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition. At first it felt like an explosion had gone off in my head and I thought “Did I do something wrong in my pregnancy ?” Afterwards I thought to myself I do not smoke or drink.I did light exercise walking and dance so no I dont think so. I was looking for someone or something to blame which is a natural reaction after been given this information.
I just wanted to share with parents that once your son or daughter is given the diagnosis:
- Let yourself feel everything you feel: Please know it is okay to be mad, sad and angry. You will feel a variety of conflicting emotions. It is even okay to wallow in self-pity a bit. Some parents even go through a short grieving process.
- Don’t blame yourself: Please don’t blame yourself or your partner . We all do the best we can with the information we are given at the time.
- Take Charge: Taking charge will make you feel less helpless. Information is power, and there is so much more information now available than when both my sons were diagnosed in 1994 and 1997.
- Don’t believe everything you are told about autism: You know your child better than any health care professional. And no one should tell you what your child will not be able to do.
- Take one day at a time.
- Speak to other parents: Parents who also have an autistic child will often be your best support because they know what you are going through and they are going through it too. You can share strategies.
- Make time for yourself: I didn’t do this for ten years since I felt guilty and felt I had to put all my energy into fighting for my children and secure them appropriate education even on 3 hours sleep or no sleep. If you burn out you are no good to anyone !
I love my zumba so I have my autism free zone on a Thursday for an hour
Take one day at a time some days good some days not so good.
Never give up hope ?
Anna Kennedy OBE