Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Why We Need to Start Looking at Autism as a Fruit Salad – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Why We Need to Start Looking at Autism as a Fruit Salad – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Why We Need to Start Looking at Autism as a Fruit Salad – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

It’s 2021 and its time to start looking at autism in a more three-dimensional approach, it’s time to bridge gap and accommodate both the social and medical models of disability (in the context of autism). The Fruit Salad Analogy was created by Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) in 1995. 

So, let’s get to the basics of information processing challenges

  • Aphasias (language processing, expressive & receptive)
  • Agnosias (awareness of your senses and perception)
  • Apraxias (fine and gross motor coordination) 
  • Metabolic (heart, brain and blood vessels)
  • Gut (gastro-intestinal, IBS & leaky gut) 
  • Auto-Immune (systemic, organs & blood)
  • Seizure (brain electrical activity)

Then there are mental health challenges (with examples) 

  • Anxiety (OCD, social anxiety & exposure anxiety)
  • Mood (depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia) 
  • Impulse Control (skin picking and hair pulling)  
  • Dissociative (derealisation, depersonalisation & dissociative identity disorder)  
  • Attachment (reactive attachment disorder)
  • Psychosis (hallucinations & delusions) 

The common pieces of someone’s autism “fruit salad” are 

  • Social emotional agnosia (not perceiving body language facial expression or tone of voice)
  • Face blindness (not perceiving or bonding with facial association) 
  • Alexithymia (not perceiving one’s own emotional states or frequencies)
  • Simultagnosia (not perceiving the visual “world” as a whole)
  • Dyspraxia (has an impact on one’s ability to navigate space, depth and tactile association)
  • Language Processing (can fall to two basic domains expressive and receptive)
  • Communication Disorders (may impact the whole body and/or the speech organs)
  • Identity & Personality (may have co-existing personality disorders which impact on the person’s overall functioning and presentation)
  • Exposure Anxiety (in which a person’s nervous system is on a “hair trigger” when awareness of “self” causing fight, flight or freeze and self-responses)

Conclusion 

There are so many inaccurate and quite frankly celebrity and bias theories about what autism is and isn’t, but the truth of the matter is that autism is not a static condition that presents itself in the same way from person to person – it is a clustering of conditions that can be found in both neurology and biology. 

If with have a healthy mindset of sharing useful and productive information and broaden the narrative to include – education, care homes, parents, social services, parents, and people on the spectrum then it creates a solid environment for meaningful changes that have real impact on people’s lives.

Paul Isaacs 2021

 

Bigotry Starts At Home – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Bigotry Starts At Home – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Bigotry Starts At Home – an article by our Ambassador Paul Isaacs

The psychology all bigotry is I believe were we need to start in one’s understanding of the bigger picture of what is going on, if we look a person’s caregiving and social environment at an early age – their core belief systems and how they have internalised information with regards to difference  and how it then perceived as a person develops.

The basics of what a caregiver supplies their children

  • Psychological support and guidance
  • Emotional awareness and extraction
  • Understanding and filtering of Interpretation of the world (people, places, ideas and concepts)
  • Belief Systems of Others
  • Belief Systems of Self

Bigotry Is Learnt Not Innate  

The reduction and dehumanisation of person based on negative association with difference can be based on habitual, psychological belief system for the caregiver themselves and or the person’s environment, this is not only projection (of a false belief) but on a unconscious level and communication that the person is running on the actions of perceived self rather than connected.

This can cause what I call a generational over-hang between each new generation in which ideas and thus actions of bigotry are understood, internalised and objectively and rationally reasoned out. It can be a slow process but if the person is willing to self-reflect on their own artificial bias’ this can hopefully break the cycle.

The Origin Is The Key 

When a human being is born we are thrust into a world of  pre-existing and overwhelming ideas that are sadly ego driven, however a baby nervous system is “naked” to this specific type of filtering and understanding. It is from this that human beings whom at upon “othering” as a normal are learnt and taught these behaviours through their psycho-social environment. 

Conclusion

By recognising this simple but profound fact that no one is born is born with an idea of hate or division is the way in which we further look upon the human race as collection of people that is non-hierarchal an if judgements are to be made it must be in rational, objective and balanced way.

Be the change you want to see.

Paul Isaacs 2021

Introducing – The Big e

Introducing – The Big e

Introducing “The Big e”

Specialist advisory service using an #Intersectional approach to identify needs, provision, outcomes and one to one teaching. The Big e will consistently aim to educate, empower, empathise, and engage families on their SEND journey…

Marguerite is the Founder of Haye Independent Services which was successfully launched in June 2014 as a result of the Children and Families Act 2014. Marguerite’s primary goal was to support families through the new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) journey with the new legislation. Marguerite successfully advocated for 1000s of families working in different roles nationally.  Marguerite is knowledgeable in the SEND legislation she embraces its ethos at the heart of everything she does, by adopting a child-centred approach to ensure every child receives the right provision.

Marguerite has worked in various roles in the education sector with her most recent being a Headteacher.  Marguerite recognises the missing voices in the area of SEND from children to adults, especially within the Black community.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Marguerite became seriously ill which resulted in her having to make life changes to her role. It was decided that she would no longer be working in the role as a advocate but would use her extensive experience to offer assessments of needs and 1:1 tutoring for children with special educational needs or disabilities. This is where the – The Big e was born.

Marguerite can offer assessments, 1:1 tutoring (online) and more.

Click here for further details.

World Autism Day – Is there racism in SEND?

World Autism Day – Is there racism in SEND?

World Autism Day – Is there racism in SEND?

The U21 Autism Research Network talk to Mala Thapar our Charity Champion speaks about this important controversial topic!

Mala Thapar is one of the charity champions at AKO.

On World Autism Week she was invited as a panellist to “Let’s Talk About Autism: Diversity and Inclusion” hosted by U21 Autism Research Network, which is part of the Birmingham autism research consultancy committee. Mala is also part of this team, where together with the chair and a range of other autistic experts give advice to researchers on how to conduct their studies in an autism friendly way.

During this event, where over two hundred people attended Mala shared about being a British born Asian and her experience with racism over decades. She publicised “I sense racism immediately you can “see it” and disclosed how she was bullied at school and that not much had really changed.

Then she discussed her own personal lived-in experiences as a Mum of two Autistic boys, hoping that stigmatisation and society would have changed decades later but they had not for her eldest son who is age 16 had been a victim of racism at school, whereas her youngest son had never experienced racism within his school.

The chair asked her thoughts on the Race report which had been disclosed to the public earlier that day.  Mala commented “Where in today’s published report was there any reference to differences within SEND and racial disparities? by saying nothing speaks volumes”. She continued to tackle the topic of inequality in disability where racism plays a key part and there were public reports written that clearly reflect of the disparities, yet nothing is ever done about it.

Is there racism in SEND

The panel and audience were in full agreement and she continued: “Support across public domains such as education, health, social and care practices could effectively reduce prejudice between the public and people with ASD over time. But how much time? Councils must have regard to a set of principles with the key goal being the best possible educational and other outcomes.

Being branded as a “difficult parent” and the access to support prohibits the effect of working together. “Ethnic communities are often referred to “hard to reach” but we are only hard to reach if you have not been looking for us”, referred to the set of principles set by the councils which is not being delivered and the disparities which leads to systemic racism set by their own conduct.

BLM was discussed and when asked about media coverage the panellist and audience listened with great interest on the documentaries aired, BBC’s “Small Axe” short film on Education which was based on a true-life story of 1971. Plus, the BBC’s “Black Power Movement”. Mala shared that after watching both that “not much has really changed in her opinion. Except when you have a disability and encompassed with ethnicity it is two protected characteristics that leads to two methods of targeting an individual in my experience”.

The next topic was based on barriers and conveyed how she contacted Anna in 2011 after watching her on TV. Anna visited the mainstream school where both her sons attended at that time. Anna raised Autism awareness, which inspired her after being supressed about keeping her son’s diagnosis a secret and feeling vulnerable for many years.

After meeting Anna and feeling strengthened after listening to Anna speak so passionately about her own two sons, which in turn empowered Mala and gave her a voice and courage to stand up to the community, which stopped the bullying for her son. Life was never the same again afterwards and thereafter joined the AKO team as a charity champion, which changed her life completely.

The topic of barriers continued as Mala voiced experiences of being subjected to five tribunals, the first one in 2014, the same year as the SEND reforms which was not complied with; the placement was then given and from 2015 to 2018 her son flourished.

The situation changed drastically in 2018 and had to face three more tribunals since June 2020 just to fight for her son’s rightful education. Mala expressed how unjust and prevalent institutional racism had arisen with unnecessary obstacles being placed to hinder her son’s legal right to equal education prejudicially.

Final thoughts were given on being treated with respect and dignity equally. How each CYP should be centre of focus, training to be enhanced. Joined up services without barriers to inclusion and red tape hindering access entitlements even down to a Blue Badge which are meant to be provided by the service providers.

Mala is so incredibly grateful for the opportunity from the U21 Autism Research Network.  A huge thank you to the team and the organisers of thus and also where she was encouraged to share her opinions about experiences freely without critique and looks forward to the next event.

Mala Thapar

Please watch the video below which has the full coverage of discussions and as to how discrimination exists, with the effect to lived-in experiences, right the way through to research.

Off camera Mala had already disclosed her views with close friends on BLM and the impact of the last twelve months of heightened media coverage that shook the world and brought out the truth in her own life and to her eldest son.

The protests, the reactions of people and communities, encompassed with obvious segregation and people’s true colours coming out and finding out who was whom was indeed an eye opener or at least lifted the veil to what was clearly obvious all along.

A close friend of her had since shared on how she was treated differently after her surname had changed after marriage, how she had experienced contrasts to being treated differently to when she used her maiden name.

Mala concluded “Race is a sensitive topic when the majority are too scared to speak out in case of being called racist. I have had my fair share of being called all sorts. Whilst the world had changed but for the better with the topic of racism highlighted systemic racism that needs to be spoken about, with encouragement without judgment”.

There are further details on the campaign “Autism and Cultural Issues” click here for details.

Anna’s guest today on World Autism Day 2021 at Men’s Radio is Ethan Khumzy our Charity Ambassador

Anna’s guest today on World Autism Day 2021 at Men’s Radio is Ethan Khumzy our Charity Ambassador

Anna’s guest today on World Autism Day 2021 at Men’s Radio
is Ethan Khumzy our Charity Ambassador

Ethan Khumzy Charity Ambassador will join Anna on www.mensradiostation.com at 12noon live talking about Ethan’s experience during lockdown.
Ethan has created a Rap especially for this day.

The Odd One Out (Autism Awareness) / Prod by me / Unable. Lyrics:

Can’t find myself in distress again the same way that my jeans would be ripped, there wouldn’t be days where I wouldn’t be okay, whys that cause I’m autistic,.

A reason why I’m doing music, the same reason why I’m still here and doing it, I’m grateful for how far people like us came in the world being autistic.

There’s a reason I’m raising awareness here, shout out to Anna Kennedy, We’re still hungry for change, but they think that’s just the game like Katniss Everdeen, Some of us would not be able to go outside cos we might not know other people, but I find it good and I find it great that we have supportive people.

Ill live and perish for good, it’s okay to be different is the message I push, it’s okay to be you is the message I push, just to state that everyone feels good, It’s ok to be you it’s okay to be unique, it’s okay for you to think differently, this is more than a disability, it’s a superpower that runs in our genes, no DNA.

Yet people look at this subject in a different way, and we’re still fighting for the positive change, and that’s to make sure that we’re safe, but the struggles within us are never going away, Yet people look at this subject in a different way, and we’re still fighting for the positive change, and that’s to make sure that we’re safe, but the struggles within us are never going away.

How many people did we try to avoid and how many crowds made so much noise, there is also autistic girls and not just autistic boys, Some of us would not have a voice, and others are still finding their voices, to express themselves in a way to block all of these unwanted noises,

Life ain’t sunshine and rainbows, it will bring thunder and lightning, it will bring clouds and rainfall, but we are blessed for the helpful guidance, From everyone around us, but there’s others who tried to doubt us, but let’s get away from those type of people that wanted to doubt us.

Vulnerability is not an option, and that’s something that cannot be mocked, that’s for the bullies to hear, you need to know that life is a lot, ‘Give us a break’ like the campaign, so that everyone feels okay, give us a break like the campaign, so that everyone feels okay, It’s okay to be different, that’s the message I’m pushing, just so you know we can do it, knowing that we can put our minds to it, Even though life would treat us differently at times, we still managed to get through it.

Please watch and listen to Ethan’s video below:

World Autism Day – An inspiring song created by our Ambassador Ethan Khumalo

World Autism Day – An inspiring song created by our Ambassador Ethan Khumalo

World Autism Day

An inspiring song created by our Ambassador – Ethan Khumalo

Ethan Khumalo is eighteen years of age and an autistic dancer and lyricist that performs Grime/Rap music. His aim is to inspire other people that are autistic and also have mental health issues and wants to inspire the talent within them and they can use it, and to find confidence in themselves to showcase it.

Ethan has been dancing for 11 years and then started rapping. Anna Kennedy and Ethan first crossed paths in 2016 where he performed for the first time, at Autism’s Got Talent. Since then, more opportunities arouse.

In 2017 he won a scholarship to train with Pineapple Performing Arts School. Ethan shared:

“Fast forward to now, I am now an ambassador for Anna Kennedy Online. If you asked me how it feels to be an ambassador, l would say it feels humbling to be part of the AKO family. I never expected this honour and privilege. Thank you Anna for creating a platform for people like us, to showcase us talented individuals, to speak for the voiceless.

Anna and the team are a role model to the SEND community, whatever she speaks on, needs to be heard left, right and centre, most people can relate, we just need more to hear us out, which is why we’re raising awareness, people are getting the message which is a good thing.

What I hope to bring to the AKO charity, is to raise further awareness and acceptance in the community and promote the charity as well. I will be doing more rapping and dancing and articles to articulate my thoughts on what happens in life (Black Lives Matter, mental health, autism of course, music, environmental events/incidents). To now be a part of the AKO is unexpected, but definitely worthwhile. l am proper happy that I am an AKO ambassador, I think this is one of my BEST moments; to DATE. Anna has shown me a endless amount of love and support in what I do ever since we met. Thank you Anna for this moment, it wouldn’t have been possible without you, and also for showing me support each and every single time.”

The Odd One Out (Autism Awareness) Prod by me / Unable / Lyrics:

Can’t find myself in distress again the same way that my jeans would be ripped, there wouldn’t be days where I wouldn’t be okay, whys that cause I’m autistic, a reason why I’m doing music, the same reason why I’m still here and doing it, I’m grateful for how far people like us came in the world being autistic,

There’s a reason I’m raising awareness here, shout out to Anna Kennedy, we’re still hungry for change, but they think that’s just the game like Katniss Everdeen, some of us would not be able to go outside cos we might not know other people, but I find it good and I find it great that we have supportive people.

I’ll live and perish for good, it’s okay to be different is the message I push, it’s okay to be you is the message I push, just to state that everyone feels good, it’s ok to be you it’s okay to be unique, it’s okay for you to think differently, this is more than a disability, it’s a superpower that runs in our genes, no DNA, Yet people look at this subject in a different way, and we’re still fighting for the positive change, and that’s to make sure that we’re safe, but the struggles within us are never going away.

Yet people look at this subject in a different way, and we’re still fighting for the positive change, and that’s to make sure that we’re safe, but the struggles within us are never going away, How many people did we try to avoid and how many crowds made so much noise, there is also autistic girls and not just autistic boys, some of us would not have a voice, and others are still finding their voices, to express themselves in a way to block all of these unwanted noises.

Life ain’t sunshine and rainbows, it will bring thunder and lightning, it will bring clouds and rainfall, but we are blessed for the helpful guidance, from everyone around us, but there’s others who tried to doubt us, but let’s get away from those type of people that wanted to doubt us.

Vulnerability is not an option, and that’s something that cannot be mocked, that’s for the bullies to hear, you need to know that life is a lot, give us a break like the campaign, so that everyone feels okay, give us a break like the campaign, so that everyone feels okay.

It’s okay to be different, that’s the message I’m pushing, just so you know we can do it, knowing that we can put our minds to it, even though life would treat us differently at times, we still managed to get through it.

Please watch and listen Ethan’s video below:

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