Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Story Massage by Giuliana Wheater

Story Massage by Giuliana Wheater

Story Massage by Giuliana Wheater

Touch is life! It boosts immunity and stimulates all the neurotransmitters which we need daily. It makes such a difference!

Touch and story massage are very effective way to get our daily D.O.S.E:

Let me explain….

Dopamine, my favourite; the neurotransmitter of reward, focus, attention, and motivation.

Deficiency in this can lead to low self-esteem, low energy, an inability to focus, anxiety and mood swings.

Oxytocin: the neurotransmitter of love and nurture. It also stimulates emotional intelligence! Recent studies show that just 20 seconds after putting your hands on someone, oxytocin is released.

A deficiency in this can result in feeling lonely, stressed, insomnia, anxiety and not being able to maintain friendships.

Serotonin: the neurotransmitter of happiness, confidence, and self-esteem. A deficiency in this can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and panic attacks, being overly sensitive, social phobia, OCD, and insomnia.

Interestingly, the neurotransmitter of sleep, mood and aggression, Melatonin, is made from Serotonin. So, if we do not produce enough serotonin, we become moody, aggressive and cannot sleep.

Endorphins: the neurotransmitter of that feel good factor, feeling able to cope and function. It also helps with pain relief.

A deficiency in this can lead to anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, impulsive behaviour as well as aches and pains.

Everything I do with anyone is always an invitation and always about where I meet THEM. Not the other way around. Story massage is a very impactful way to do this.

To invite and engage, to let the child choose and lead is empowering and floods them with the main happy and coping neurotransmitters. By involving them, they are also very quickly learning simple touch techniques through story massage to use anytime.

It is enormously beneficial for sensory issues too.

I was putting touch into stories for quite some years to help engage children with autism, ADHD & SEN; particularly for describing their passions, problems or favourite songs or toys.

Then I came across the incredible work of the Story Massage Programme founded by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper.

This training MASSIVELY enriched my own work. It really cemented, simplified, and grew from what was doing myself – and I loved the format.

I am bursting with pride to share that my “Rainbow Kids” won the first ever Junior Practice Story Massage Award for groups and then I was awarded a Best Practice Award for the incredible results I was getting with the children.

The Story Massage programme consists of just twelve easy massage strokes. Particularly for autistic children that repetition of the strokes is comforting, grounding and does not surprise them with anything unexpected. It is a hugely useful calming and regulating tool.

But such enormous fun!!

I use it every day as part of my therapies.

It can even be used to teach parts of the curriculum!!

It is wonderful to see this work growing so much within schools. It is so needed, especially after almost 2 years of no touch.

The touch is always safe and respectful, with permission being asked first. It can be done anytime, anywhere.

Or as part of the school day for EVERYONE!

Did you also know that although our brains stop physically growing at around the age of eighteen, what we do with the grey matter inside our brains is up to US, ALL our lives! We can shrink or grow the grey matter around the amygdala or emotional brain/fear centre, the frontal lobe which houses all our higher brain functions and the hippocampus which is all about memory and learning.

Touch and story massage play a huge part in this.

When a child is in a relaxed state, they only need the same message repeated to them 4-6 times and a new neurological pathway is formed inside the brain! Not only that but through repeated touch you are then changing the memory inside the very cells of our bodies, the memory contained within our water and even the memory carried by our immune system. It becomes positive, able to cope and function, more confident and out of that crippling flight or fight scenario that so many of our neurodiverse children suffer with.

Babies with autism or other neurodiversity’s are actually born with higher levels of the enemy of the body, Cortisol, a stress hormone.

Babies born with ADHD immediately have brains that do not produce enough Dopamine – hence their inability to focus or concentrate. It is not a “conduct disorder “or wilful. It is just a differently wired brain.

Lots of our children also experience some kind of trauma as they try to navigate school and our world. As parents we can actually suffer from what is known as secondary PTSD. I know I do from the journey with my own autistic son.

Touch and story massage can help this so much. It brings the body back to “rest and relax,” calming the entire nervous system. It releases all those important and essential “coping chemicals” and “happy hormones “. It calms, bonds, builds trust, melts barriers and is such a useful tool for the whole family, including the siblings of autistic children.

I ran a story massage family workshop before Covid, and a father just broke down because he said it was the first time, he had touched his autistic son with ADHD “just because “in almost 6 years.

By putting touch into stories, it often removes the barrier of fear or distrust, especially if you make it about the child.

Through using the story massage programme, I have even had several nonverbal and selective mute children say their first word!

I have also had children who are undergoing extreme anxiety, phobias, or challenges: story massage, particularly when we write the stories together, will often give that problem a voice for the first time. And we can then work through that challenge.

Here is a link to the experience of just one parent and reflexologist: https://www.storymassage.co.uk/story-massage-for-children-with-tactile-sensitivity/

Story massage reduces and eases anxiety and stress, fear, meltdown and overwhelm.

It could even be made up to do as homework to describe a historical event or a creative writing piece for children with dyslexia as well as autism!

Story Massage
Story Massage
Story Massage
Story Massage
Kidzrus students supporting our Give us a Break campaign

Kidzrus students supporting our Give us a Break campaign

Thank you to Philip Barnett and Kidzrus students supporting our ‘Give us a Break !’ Antibullying campaign.

If you would like to spread the word of our Give Us A Break campaign please see below our campaign posters and it would be great if you could click on one of the images and download the poster and help us spread the message to support as many people as we can. 

You can so this by taking a photo or video of yourself and others by holding up one of the posters below either printed or show on your devices, then tag us in on social media. We would love for you to show your support to Anna Kennedy Online.

Please share and let us make a change – together we are stronger!

Give Us A Break Campaign Light Poster
Give Us A Break Campaign Dark Poster
Design a poster competition!

Design a poster competition!

Design a poster competition!

Once again Watford FC collaborate with AKO with “Design your own Give us a Break” poster competition!

The Hornets are delighted to once again support Anna Kennedy Online’s ‘Give Us A Break’ campaign during this year’s anti-bullying week with a design your own poster competition following the success of the 2020 competition.

The ‘Give Us A Break’ campaign was launched back in 2013 to highlight the impact bullying has on individuals, particularly those on the autism spectrum, with the aim of creating environments and cultures where everyone feels safe and supported without the fear of experiencing bullying at schools, online or within their local community.

This time last year, to help promote the campaign and anti-bullying week, Junior Hornets were asked to submit their own poster designs that represented what anti-bullying means to them with Logan (10) and Daniel (11) creating the winning designs in their respective age categories. Click here to see last year’s winning posters.

Following on from the fantastic designs submitted for the 2020 competition, Junior Hornets are once again asked to design their own anti-bullying poster for their chance to win a player card signed with a personalised message by their favourite player.

The poster should demonstrate what anti-bullying means to the designer and how it is best promoted to raise awareness to others.

Competition entries will be split into two different age groups, 0-10 and 11-16, with one winning design chosen by Watford FC staff and representatives from Anna Kennedy Online for each age group.

In addition to the personalised message, the winning designs will be shared on both the club’s and the charity’s social media accounts, so Junior Hornets should make their design as eye-catching as possible so it stands-out from the other entries.

To enter, simply send in a photo of the completed poster to junior.hornets@watfordfc.com before 5pm on Monday November 22.

Please be sure to include the name and age of the designer, as well as their favourite Watford FC player.

The winners will then be contacted via email with further details on claiming the winning prize.

Give Us A Break Campaign Dark Poster
Give Us A Break campaign videos 2021

Give Us A Break campaign videos 2021

Give Us A Break campaign videos 2021

Anna Kennedy with Aston Avery interview Ben Pearson, founder of BigClothing4u all about  Anti bullying week 2021

An hour on Gateway 97.8 talking about anti bullying week, our Give Us A Break campaign and Harvey’s Law with two charity Ambassadors Aston Avery and Ben Pearson. We also played Macauley Elvin ‘Hollow’ Charity single.

Please watch the videos below:

Give Us A Break: Part 1 of 3

Give Us A Break: Part 2 of 3

Give Us A Break: Part 3 of 3

If you would like to spread the word of our Give Us A Break campaign please see below our campaign posters and it would be great if you could click on one of the images and download the poster and help us spread the message to support as many people as we can. 

You can so this by taking a photo or video of yourself and others by holding up one of the posters below either printed or show on your devices, then tag us in on social media. We would love for you to show your support to Anna Kennedy Online.

Please share and let us make a change – together we are stronger!

Give Us A Break Campaign Light Poster
Give Us A Break Campaign Dark Poster
Anti bullying Campaign