Anna Kennedy OBE interviews Tess Eagle Swan

Anna Kennedy OBE interviews Tess Eagle Swan

Anna Kennedy OBE’s guest during Autism Awareness Week on Womens Radio Station is Tess Eagle Swan. Tess was diagnosed with autism later in life and share how her diagnosis has changed her life. 

Tess is also well known because of her wonderful rescue dog Kratu who recently appeared on Crufts. Kratu is Tess’s best friend . Tess shares how the Coronavirus has impacted on her daily life: “Survival tips from an autistic outlook”

The most important thing for me is to stay off TV and radio, not to listen to news. That I find overwhelms me and pushes me towards an overload. If anyone finds the news overwhelming Phil Mollen, a teacher and mentor of mine has this gift on YouTube, click here to watch this. 

Looking after mental well being is essential. I am spending a lot of time outdoors, listening to the birds, pulling up nettles and training my dogs.

Another friend has a video library Here is a code for a months free access HTNOMENO 

Mental stimulation is so important for our pets when they have less walks during this time. Teach a trick, or how to settle, learn a new behaviour with them. It encourages bonding too.

Use a treat to reward, keep sessions short and always end on a positive outcome with a treat. I get great satisfaction from seeing my dogs balanced, able to relax and much happier. 

I have set myself some goals. Ridding my garden of nettles. Eating healthily and walking the dogs. Fighting bulimia and finally winning after 36 years is something I wont let go of right now. Going to stay on top of this.

Being able to share my story about Kratu my dog who  I rescued and who is my support,  to others is so empowering to me. I have always had little self esteem and self confidence.

Achieving all the things we have done together makes me feel like I have done something good in my life.

Overcoming all the obstacles I have done and never giving up because I believed in something better was going to happen. I knew I was different and didn’t understand why until I got diagnosed.

Now I have wings and I can fly. I feel at peace finally. I love being the way I am. I can do some things that others cant. I might see the world in a different way but that’s my way. And that’s perfect for me. I am finally happy in my skin.

Kratu was my key to this and being diagnosed was the key turning in the lock to open the door to all possibilities and the rest of our life helping people and inspiring others along the way. Impossible became I’m possible.

Always believe in yourself and never give up. Look at us. Against all odds we made it to here. And here is a very happy place! ‘ 

Tess , Kratu and Polo also appeared on Autism’s Got Talent last year and amazed the audience in central London . 

There will be an online free workshop this Thursday on Autism , Sensing and Mental Health. 

Please click here for further information. 

Coronavirus and your wellbeing – from Mind, the mental health charity

Coronavirus and your wellbeing – from Mind, the mental health charity

Anna Kennedy Online nominated Calvin Billington Glen as an inspiring singer song writer, a fundraiser for charitable causes and a great supporter of other young people who live with autism. He is a passionate supporter Anna Kennedy Online and has helped to create the charity’s first album ‘Building Bridges’ writing a song to commemorate a friend who sadly passed away. Calvin has organised and performed at events in aid of various charities and is a Young Ambassador for Dorset Mind who specialises in services for young people with mental health issues in the Dorset Area.

In October 2017, Calvin was presented with his Inspire Diana Award at Barclays ,Canary Wharf by Tessy Ojo CEO of The Diana Award. Tessy shared ‘This recognition is vital as it provides further motivation to continue in their quest for change and they are more likely to mobilise their peers, creating a positive ripple effect in communities’ Anna Kennedy OBE shared ‘I am very proud of Calvin and he is a talented , kind and caring young man. A great role model for individuals on the autism spectrum.’ 

Calvin Glen one of our AGT performers is an Ambassador for Dorset Mind we did a joint fundraiser together, there is some great advice from Mind: Click here for details.

SEND Tribunal – Update

SEND Tribunal – Update

Yesterday (19th March 2020) the Chamber President and Deputy Chamber President of HESC sent out the following guidance regarding (amongst other things) regarding the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal:

Decisions about the education of children and young people are vitally important and the Tribunal is making every effort to conclude as many appeals and claims as possible.

The Tribunal are already aware of parents, young people, local authority representatives and witnesses who are self-isolating and social distancing, putting pressure on all services at this unprecedented time.

Following today’s announcement from the Senior President of Tribunals, all hearings in the First-tier Tribunal Special Educational Needs and Disability will move away from face to face hearings and make use of the technology available.

From Monday 23 March 2020, the Tribunal will use technology to enable hearings to proceed for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hearings will be on paper or by telephone and where possible video, where the technology permits.  The arrangements for your hearing will be confirmed at least 2 days before the date on which your hearing is listed, and it would assist if you could check whether you are able to access telephone and internet services either in your home or locally.  You will not be required to travel to the hearing venue if you have either telephone or internet video facilities.

If parties do not have a reliable telephone or internet service available in their homes, it may be possible to arrange to use the IT equipment or telephones at your nearest Courts and Tribunals hearing venue.

There is no need to contact the Tribunal to obtain the details as the administrative team are working to issue those details to you in time for your hearing.

Please do not contact the Tribunal helpline because at present, the Tribunal’s own resources are reduced due to self-isolation and social distancing and it is at the point two days before your hearing, if you haven’t received correspondence from the Tribunal that you should contact the office.

Thank you for your patience. If we can be of any further assistance please email the Tribunal at

In summary, there is a moratorium as far as in person hearing as concerned. Instead from Monday 23rd March 2020 hearings will:

  1. Be on the papers submitted – including written submissions on the evidence
  2. Use technology, specifically telephone or videoconferencing facilities.

Whilst this change may not be universally welcomed, it is understandable as the Tribunal are doing what they reasonably can to ensure that, as far as possible, its work goes on uninterrupted.


Anna Kennedy OBE interviews Ali Golding and Bryher Scudamore

Anna Kennedy OBE interviews Ali Golding and Bryher Scudamore

Listeners to the respected Anna Kennedy Women’s Radio station heard Ali Golding, CEO of #MovementWorks explain the huge benefit that movement and dance can have for individuals on the autistic spectrum. – not only physically, socially and emotionally but – through the charity’s scientifically backed programmes – can also improve brain function, including speech and language and global learning on ‘All things Autism’ 

Anna asked Ali about outcomes. “Due to the way our sessions are structured and delivered – harnessing the power of movement and music to bring the whole brain to attention – we have seen previously non-verbal children speaking for the first time and parents noticing their children engaging in school and social activities that they were formerly not able to manage” 

“I can attribute this course to Connor’s behaviour turning a complete 360… it’s been absolutely life changing” Lucy Callaghan (Mother of student).

To illustrate the difference MovementWorks can make and the benefits of our sessions, please watch this short clip:

Ali Golding, who was joined on air by chair of the charity, Bryher Scudamore, said, “We have been running our ‘Action for Autism’ project supported by The London Mayor and Greenwich Leisure Ltd in Lambeth and by BBC Children in Need in Lewisham and Wandsworth.  MovementWorks was proud to celebrate at London’s Guildhall the recognition of our work with Children and Young People.

The London Sport Awards is the largest celebration of community grass-root physical activity and sport.

The London Sport Awards shortlists were announced on BBC Radio London on Thursday 23rd January, and then published on the London Sport website.

This year the London Sport Awards received 284 nominations and only 29 were shortlisted for the various categories.  

The next MovementWorks Autism training workshop is scheduled for July 18th and 19th. Lead together with Ms Lara, Founder of Autism Movement Therapy the two have presented research at the worldwide Movement and Cognition Conference at HARVARD University

Anna Kennedy was also interested in Bryher Scudamore’s background. Bryher talked about her 25 year long career at the BBC during which she was Editor of BBC One’s most popular factual programme, ‘That’s Life!’ and Editor-in-Chief of BBC Online and how her beloved mother’s untimely death had inspired her to start a business for the first time in her life at the age of 60.

She explained, “Autodotbiography makes it easy for anyone, no matter how good, or bad, at writing to create a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated hardback book of their life story for their family. I passionately believe that everyone has a story to share with their family and there is no better time to write it.”

“As chair of MovementWorks I have learned how our programmes can help children make dramatic improvements in their learning.”

For more information on the programmes or training workshops go to:

For all U.K enquiries contact

Connect through Facebook and Twitter @MovementworksEd

Editors Notes

Ali Golding, MSc, Post Grad Cert SEN, FRSA, specialist dance educator, dance scientist Founder, Managing and Creative Director of MovementWorks® has pioneered inclusive movement programmes that focus on child development and whole-body learning. Her work is scientifically rigorous and has been presented at Harvard and Tel Aviv Universities to the world’s leading movement scientists. You can view her TED talk ‘Why Movement Works For Learning’

Ms Golding’s research focus is on dance and cognition with a particular interest in early years and special education.

The work has been cited in the All-Party Parliamentary Report on the Arts Health and Well Being and recognised by The Royal Society of Arts as a project having “real world impact”. Ms Golding has contributed editorials to Dance UK Magazine, Early Arts UK & Project Oracle.

MovementWorks® has been featured at The National Autism Shows and The Times Educational (TES) SEN Show. Additionally, the research has been presented at The British College of Occupational Therapists, The British Association of Art Therapies, Plymouth University Autism Therapies Conference, The National Autistic Society International Congress, The Expressive Arts Summit, New York University, Traditional Therapies and Expressive Modalities in association with Adelphi University in Asia.

MovementWorks is a registered charity. Number 1176176

About MovementWorks®

MovementWorks is a groundbreaking charity advocating the importance of movement for optimal child development. Drawing on educational theory, therapeutic practice and dance science, MovementWorks provides movement and dance programmes and runs events that support early years and SEND educators, children and their families with researched movement practice.

Author: Mala Thapar