Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Mindfulness for meltdowns

Mindfulness for meltdowns

Mindfulness for meltdowns


An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater and her video!

The exams are over, and I have to say I am just BURSTING with pride at how all of this particular 2022-year group have navigated it all through such unbelievably challenging times.

For our autistic and neurodivergent young people I am even prouder as, in my opinion, mainstream exams bring out the best in nobody, even neurotypical kids; they just create box tickers and finishers; not learners ready to explore and be curious.

For our neurodivergent kids, it is like taking their exams in Japanese, especially as many of them have gone through this whole process without a diagnosis or an EHCP due to the 3–5-year average waiting lists.


Funnily enough many of the young people I have seen since the exams have finished have been either feeling flat, emotionally numb, or very tearful, and many have had absolute meltdowns.

All behaviour is communication and our young people really have been pushed to the absolute limit on every level.

So here are three very simple mindful exercises to use when you feel that meltdown or overwhelm building inside you.

If your child has already hit meltdown, use these exercises once they have calmed down. Do not do them while they are in that state of “high arousal.”

By doing these regularly, self-awareness is developed: that awareness of things building and how they are feeling.

Self-regulation will then follow as once they are aware that a meltdown is building, they can bring themselves fully to the very present moment by doing one of more of the exercises I have shared today.

Eventually they will be able to self-manage those big emotions. These exercises are wonderful for us all, whatever our label – and anyone can do them, so they are fully inclusive of all abilities.

Have a great week everyone. Take good care of yourselves and each other. Lots of love, Giuliana xx

Mindfulness for meltdowns
Mindfulness for meltdowns
Mindfulness for meltdowns
Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month

Did you know that July is Disability Pride Month?

No? Well not many do, even though it has been celebrated for over 30 years.

So, we decided to find out more.

The origins of this can be traced back to “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)” which was passed on July 26, 1990, to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. Following this legislation, Boston held the first Disability Pride Day event in July 1990 and Disability Pride Month was born.

So since then, Disability Pride events have been celebrated in July in many American cities.

Pride in the context of disability will mean different things to different people. Some say it’s about being visible, others say it’s  a month to celebrate each other’s uniqueness and take pride in who we are; being disabled gives a unique perspective of the world and can make disabled people great problem solvers and innovative thinkers- skills which have been honed over the years  to overcome many obstacles faced in daily life.

Did you know there is a Disability Pride flag?

It was created by Ann Magill, a disabled woman, and each coloured element symbolises a different part of the disability community.

⚫️ represents the disabled people who have lost their lives due not only to their condition, but also to negligence, suicide, and eugenics;

🔴 represents physical disabilities;

🟡 represents cognitive and intellectual disabilities;

⚪️ represents invisible and undiagnosed disabilities;

🔵 represents mental illness; and

🟢 represents sensory perception disabilities.

Last year the flag was redesigned based on feedback that the original lightning bolt design created a strobe effect and posed a risk for people with epilepsy and migraine sufferers. The image below is the new design.

How many of you are aware of Disability Pride month? Is your organisation or are you doing something to mark this? What does disability pride mean to you?

#disability #disabilitypride #didabilityprideflag #july2022 #disabilityawareness

Mandy Aulak

Talem Law

Dr Oussama Abdallah – an article by one of our Autism Hero Award finalists from Syria

Dr Oussama Abdallah – an article by one of our Autism Hero Award finalists from Syria

Dr Oussama Abdallah

An article by one of our Autism Hero Award finalists from Syria

Dr. Oussama Abdallah is a Syrian child psychiatrist who has been working in the field of ASD for over twenty years. His journey started as a volunteer at the Homme De Terre Association for disabilities, when he was a student at the School of Medicine, in Damascus. At that time, Autism as a subject matter was starting to be shed light on. Therefore, he wrote his MD graduation project about the Spectrum.

Following that, Dr. Abdallah travelled to the United Kingdom and continued his higher education at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. He was awarded an MA in Autism by the Faculty of Health, Community and Education Studies at Northumbria University. He has a Postgraduate Certificate in ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ from Sheffield Hallam University in co-operation with the National Autistic Society.

Currently, he is finalising his PhD in Developmental Disorders, with particular reference to the Emotional and Behavioural abnormalities in Childhood, at Ulster University.

His PhD focuses on a national plan for ASD and other learning disabilities in Syria. This study is being performed on a very large scale (over 7000 children).

In May 2010, Dr Abdallah was awarded as the ‘Leader of the Future’: ‘Dr. Oussama Abdallah has been successful in gaining an award for his submission for ‘Leader of the Future’ in the field of Learning Disabilities.

Dr. Abdallah

In recognition of his achievement, he has been invited to attend the BILD 2010 International Research and Practice Conference, on 5 to 7 May 2010 which is being held at The Grand Hotel, Malahide, Dublin.  Where he will be presented with his award at the conference dinner on Thursday 6 May and also presents a keynote address on Friday 7 May 2010 at 2.15 pm for 45 mins.’   (BILD 22-04-2010)

Dr. Abdallah has been working as a National Academic Liaison Officer (ALO) in Syria for the College of Medicine and Dentistry/ BPP university – Birmingham, in addition to being a clinical consultant and scientific advisor at Wojood Centre, in the field of learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and alternative developmental disorders, as well as psychological support for traumatic children.

He has also been chosen as a member of the medical advisory board at AutisMedi- Turkey. As a personal project, Dr. Abdallah has been trying to connect the British experience with the initial Syrian attempts in the field of Autism, to create new links and terms that can improve the possibilities of helping ASD people in the Syrian society. After the Syrian crisis, he has worked with associations, trainees, and parents in general, and in refugee camps with great interest of ASD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Dr Abdallah’s work includes planning and designing strategies for the benefit of ASD children and their families, as well as, improving the quality of established services in the field of psychosocial support, mental and psychological development of children, with many NGOs in the Syrian society.

Dr. Abdallah

He has also been working on maintaining children’s rights in the social and educational services and giving advice to governmental agencies to take the appropriate measures of integrating ASD children in the educational system as well as providing them, their families, and the associations working in this field, with the necessary assistance and support.

Dr. Abdallah has been a project leader and research supervisor at many research projects from the Ministry of Health, UNHCR, and Northumbria University.

Mainly, the cooperative project on the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, during Iraqi war, on the emotional and behavioural development of Iraqi displaced children in Syria.

He has participated in a number of national and international conferences as a keynote speaker and planned as well as attended many workshops that deal with the latest information and updates in the field of ASD research.

This year, Dr Oussama Abdallah has been nominated as one of the three finalists for The Lifetime Award provided by the Anna Kennedy online Autism Hero Awards in London; this nomination raises hope for the entire Syrian community that works and supports people with ASD and their families in very hard conditions.

It is a real great success and a rewarding pay back that the work of a Syrian doctor in this field under the pressure of war circumstances has been recognised by a very respectful, expert, and prestigious organisation. It is a huge ‘Lifetime’ achievement that will reinforce and provide more positive efforts and future hope to the whole ASD community in Syria.  

Mindfulness for meltdowns

Take a deep breath

Take a deep breath 


An article by our Well-being Ambassador Giuliana Wheater and her video!

The exams are over … hooray!!! However, we still continue to live in a crazy world. So, we need to literally take a deep breath from time to time.

Mindful yoga breathing techniques are an actual superpower on so many levels.

In the exercises I have shared this week we are working on the heart, the gut and the gut-brain axis which are MASSIVELY important for our mental health.

By breathing deeply, we increase the blood and oxygen to the brain. This actually decreases by 40% when we panic, have an anxiety attack, or hyperventilate.

The heart is proven to be the control mechanism to health.

Stress is proven to be the control mechanism to ill health on all sorts of levels.

These breathing exercises will ease anxiety, stress, PTSD, and insomnia as well as boosting the enemy of stress: nonadrenaline.

No adrenaline floods us with focus and positivity.

Serotonin for self-esteem, happiness and confidence is pushed up from the gut and into the brain. Dopamine for perspective, drive, attention and feeling on top of the world loves a good party more than anything else and this is also being pushed up to the brain!

The Blood and oxygen intake to the brain are boosted, stimulating focus and clear thinking.

If you have a child or you yourself are autistic, have ADHD, ADD or PDA, just turn the breathing exercises into a story or tale about what their passion is. This will engage them far more than trying to force them to sit down and “do breathing exercises “.

I snow you how to do this in this week’s video.

Regular mindful breathing changes our brains too!!

The grey matter around the amygdala/ emotional brain / fear centre actually DECREASES and the grey matter around the prefrontal cortex / higher brain functions/ rational brain actually INCREASES!!!

Just amazing!!

So, take care everyone, Have a good week. Lots of love, Giuliana xx

Take a deep breath

Take a deep breath

Take a deep breath

Anna Kennedy OBE has been shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Anna Kennedy OBE has been shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Anna Kennedy OBE has been shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Anna Kennedy OBE from Anna Kennedy Online has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Award at the National Diversity Awards 2022.

An astonishing 72,000 people nominated this year alone and the results are finally in for the National Diversity Awards (NDA), with an astonishing 126 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide.

Community organisations and role models from across the UK will head to the breath taking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on 16th September to witness the countries 2022 winners being crowned the best of British diversity.

Amongst those being honoured are charities, campaigners and activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways.

Anna Kennedy OBE shortlisted for the Lifetime Award said: “Thank you so much to everyone who voted and nominated me. I have been raising awareness and acceptance of autism since both my sons were diagnosed in the early 90’s. my sons and the autism community drive me forward into creating a springboard for them so that they can navigate this complicated everchanging world with the skills needed to have a good quality of life and not be treated like second class citizens.”

About Anna

Originally from Middlesbrough, Anna and Sean Kennedy are parents of two boys, Patrick, and Angelo, who are both diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In 1999 having been turned away by no fewer than twenty-six special needs schools when searching for appropriate educational facilities for their sons. Anna built her own provisions as the start of her incredible journey.

Anna Kennedy OBEIn 2008 Anna co-authored her bestselling biography “Not Stupid” which poignantly portrayed her struggle to find appropriate provision for her boys a familiar story. In 2013 Anna received an Honorary Doctor in Professional Achievement from Teeside University.

Anna finally got her break when she was announced one of the winners of The BBC’s Peoples Strictly in February 2015 where she scored the perfect full marks in the final that was aired to over eleven million people across the UK.


This was the ideal opportunity to selflessly share her personal journey of Autism and to use the opportunity as she connected with the nation and used this once in a lifetime opportunity to raise Autism Awareness through the communities nationwide as the fortitude and driving force behind Autism.

In 2018 Anna was nominated through Amnesty International as a woman making an extraordinary difference and has won fresh recognition for her pioneering support for children with Autism and was also featured on Amnesty’s Suffragette Spirit Map of Britain of woman who have gone beyond. Anna was awarded International Humanitarian Award 2016 by IARA (International Achievement Recognition Awards), and previously amongst many other awards.

Anna also has a weekly show on Women’s radio station as well as her own monthly attendance at Gateway Radio that cover subjects such as disability and the work of her charity. Recently Anna was part of the BBC ‘Harvey and Me’ documentary. There are regular footages of Anna on mainstream media channels and a high demand for attendance as a guest.

Direct Line Group, Kantar and The British Army have recently been announced as sponsors of the pioneering awards that have paid tribute to over 1000 grass root groups and diversity champions since its inception. ITV News are also listed amongst a host of companies showcasing their support to recognising diverse talent, providing a platform to our unsung heroes.

Helen Robinson, D&I & Community Engagement Manager, Auto Trader UK, said: “At Auto Trader we are delighted to partner with the National Diversity Awards for another year and celebrate the magnificent people and community groups that are making the UK more diverse and inclusive. We want to recognise their efforts, share their stories far and wide to encourage others to support their work as well as inspire them to take action.”

Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s continue to gain endorsements from high profile figures such as Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton. Activist Katie Piper, Emmerdale star Ash Palmisciano and Paralympic Gold Medallist Danny Creates were on this year’s judging panel, dedicating their time to help choose the highly anticipated shortlist.

Author and philanthropist, Katie Piper said: “I am so proud to be on the judging panel for the National Diversity Awards. In what has been a tough year for many, I am so pleased these awards create and celebrate a new generation of positive role models. As a campaigner myself, I will love reading about the excellent achievements of grass-root communities which tackle the issues in today’s society with sheer dedication. I can’t wait to honour these charities, role models and community heroes who will have shown outstanding commitment to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion.”

Previous winners include Black Girls Hike Founder Rhiane Fatinikun, domestic abuse charity WAVES Counselling Project, and actor Warwick Davis.

Paul Sesay, Founder and CEO of the National Diversity Awards added, “What an incredible year it has been for nominations, we received more than ever before showcasing the UK’s role models in all their glory. Producing this shortlist was extremely difficult due to the vast amount of invaluable work being carried out. The UK has truly embraced the spirit of The National Diversity Awards by uniting through adversity to create a host of incredible initiatives. The profound impact made by all our nominees is life changing, and I feel humbled to know that so much goodness is all around us.

After weeks of deliberating and thousands of heartfelt testimonials later, I am delighted to finally present to you the best of British Diversity.

Congratulations to all of our shortlisted nominees, it is an honour to recognise your fearlessness, resilience and humanitarian efforts with the rest of the world. Let’s continue the fight for justice, unity and equality for all”.

To view a full list of nominees please visit


Author: Mala Thapar