On Daytime, Aston and regular contributor Anna Kennedy OBE chatted All Things Autism in Essex where they mainly highlighted the most recent Autism Hero Awards that took place on 25th November at the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch, London. They also spoke to a couple of recipients of the awards as well.
The first guest Aston and Anna spoke to was James Punch who was the recipient of The Lifetime Award at this years Autism Hero Awards.
The second guest Aston and Anna spoke to was Jade Cook who was the recipient of the Outstanding Community Award at this years Autism Hero Awards
Anna had this to say after the show:
“Can you believe it we are in our final month of 2023 talking ‘All things Autism in Essex’ Time flies whoosh!
Aston and I talking as always at the beginning of the show about Strictly and the previous weeks eliminations and our favourite routines. Not long to go for the final and for the Christmas Strictly special whoop.
I am off to Zoes place in Coventry for my 6th year. I am judging Strictly Christmas the matinee performance with Harry Judd, Vincent Simone and Chloe Hewitt . Later that day I am judging the evening performance with my good friend Robin Windsor, Kristina Rihanoff . Just love this event!!
Aston and I spoke about his surprise Charity Supporter of the Year Award. The shock on his face was priceless on the night!
Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon from Autism Together
Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon. ‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week. Please see www.womensradiostation.com
It was a pleasure to chat to Anna, it was my first radio interview and I’ll admit to being more than a little nervous. But Anna put me at ease straight away and the time flew by so fast I realised I hadn’t said half the things I’d planned to! I thought it might also be useful to recap some of the points we talked about as well as give you a bit more information about Autism Together.
Autism Together is a registered charity, formed in 1968 when a group of parents established The Wirral Society for Autistic Children, which later became Autism Together. So, we have been going for over 50 years- I think our values come for those early parents. One of the first parents- Mr John Brady refused to pay his rates as he felt his son was being failed by the local council.
He was threatened with a prison sentence and his appeal made it all the way to the house of commons – apparently the first time Autism has been mentioned there! He banded together a group of parents who felt the same founding the Wirral society for Autistic children.
The raised funds to buy and refit Raby hall- this took over 10 years but in 1977 Raby Hall opened its doors to 6 people. John passed away in 2006, His Son Shaun who lived with us until his death in 2020 had lived a very happy life on Raby site for 43 years, the incredible legacy left by John and those early pioneering parents.
In 1980 we went through a name change as the individuals living with us were no longer children. We changed to Wirral Autistic Society and even through we’ve changed our name again in 2015 to Autism Together people still often refer to us as WAS. A specialist provider, we provided a huge range of services from Residential care homes, respite through to Supported living, domiciliary care, day services, work opportunities, right through to family support and play and youth groups and training.
We still have Raby hall, its gone through many refits over the years, as Raby Hall is set on large beautiful grounds, we were able to build a number of residential services, our respite service and our Kitchen Garden and farm day services are all based here. We have also set us services in the local community in Bromborough and as far afield as Wrexham.
We support around 400 people and employ around 1000 staff. We can also provide training and support to families and others; we have provided some training for local police and fire brigade as well as working with football clubs and community champions.
We also help to run the river park in collaboration with Land Trust. Opening in 2014 it’s a closed landfill site that’s been transformed into a 28-hectare park with walks, wildlife and wetland areas and spectacular views of the river greatly appreciate by the local community. We are currently raising funds for a defib We have also been fundraising to get a defibrillator installed at our Port Sunlight River Park site: www.aeddonate.org.uk/projects/autism-together/
I look after our residential services, we have 20 registered care homes, and I’m supported by an experienced knowledgeable and all-around amazing team of 7 registered mangers, whose efforts over the past 20 months have been nothing short of super human!
At Autism Together our philosophy remains firmly rooted in a belief that:
We begin with what people can do, not with what they can’t do, by listening to each individual and acknowledging that they are the expert in their autism.
Our support begins with the person, along with a shared understanding of what is important to them and what their strengths and needs are.
Our support approaches are individualised so that staff can meet each person’s communication needs.
Adopting Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) accredited by Bild (British Institute of learning Disabilities) back in 2018, this model fitted so well with our existing values and has given us a clear framework to follow when supporting people.
How can you help us?
We have a charity abseil planned for 26th September Batron Square Trafford centre Manchester, you can opt to Abseil yourself or sponsor someone who’s’ already signed up for the challenge. I completed an Abseil down Liverpool cathedral back in 2018! Terrified didn’t even come close! But we supported each other and went over the top like pro’s, Cried and screamed our way down! But we did it! Funds raised from the Abseil will go towards additional services and equipment for the people we support.
We also have an online eBay shop where the people we support are able to sell their amazing products, you’ll find a lot of unique items here. https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/autismtogether
Our Amazon wish list has items that the people we support, and their staff have picked- lots of low-cost high impact things to pick here, as well as some larger wish list items.
This has really helped our guys through the various lockdowns.
You can also add us on SMILE amazon- basically this means every time you make a purchase through Amazon they donate on your behalf- even if you don’t pick Autism Together, please do this for a charity that’s local to you.
The past few years have been incredibly hard on everyone, throwing up challenges and frustrations in equal measure. I’d like to end with a huge thank you to our staff teams across all our services who have been simply outstanding. Their commitment passion and dedication has been inspiring.
They arrived everyday not knowing what they may face while carrying the burden of their own worries and fears, supporting people to manage impossible situations and being creative with their solutions. Adapting and rising to every single challenge and hurdle. You are all amazing!
Thank you, Anna, for the opportunity to talk about Autism Together.
Take care of yourselves out there, and if you’ve able to, remember to take care of each other too.
Anna’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ was Greg Smith
Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on Women’s Radio Station was Greg Smith . ‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week. Please see www.womensradiostation.com
My name is Greg Smith I am 25 years old and am from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
My story started when I attended a mainstream primary school in Bury St Edmunds, thinking I was fine, not old enough to know that I had already been diagnosed with ASD. I had friends and teachers that understood me and had a happy time there.
Next, I was lucky enough to attend Priory school in Bury- which is a school for children with mild to moderate learning difficulties. It taught me how to be more independent and confident which prepared me for life in the bigger outside world. I completed my education and achieved 8 Entry Level and one GCSE qualifications.
I currently work as a production worker for a Social Enterprise company called Harry Specters in Ely, Cambridgeshire which is very well renowned for its high-quality chocolates and employs people with autism, giving them the opportunity of working in paid employment.
I have been working at Harry Specters for over 3 years as an assistant chocolatier.
It has changed my life hugely as a person as I am now financially independent and the Shahs have inspired me to do other things such as spreading the word about living with Autism and promoting equality rights for people of minority groups, including people with Autism.
Listening to Mona Shah on the radio has inspired me to try and follow in her footsteps in promoting the autistic community as a valuable part of a workforce.
Autistic skills such as following rules, planning and sticking to timescales, make people with autism effective and valuable members of a workforce.
After finishing college, I spent over a year applying for a range of jobs such as Warehouse work and working at the Royal Mail, jobs that I could have done very well if I was given the chance.
Unfortunately, the interview process was very difficult for me as the questions were usually too complicated and confusing. I believe there needs to be more understanding by employers when interviewing people with disabilities.
On weekends I am a karting driver who competes in the Club 100 Lightweight Sprint Championships at tracks around the UK where many British F1 drivers started their careers.
I drive myself to these events as I passed my driving test in 2016 after a lot of hard work, which has really helped with my independence.
I completed my first year with Club 100 and last December I won the Lightweight Sprint Class 3 Championship.
I entered my 2nd year with them as a Lightweight Sprint Class 2 driver for 2021. I believe that my Autism has made me a better driver, as I take my time to study track layouts and plan timings and tactics to get the best out of myself.
On my crash helmet, I proudly carry the Autism Awareness ribbon to help drivers that I compete against understand who I am and why I was diagnosed with Autism as a child.
Also, during 2020 in the pandemic crisis, I have met some amazing people from an owner karting team called AIM (Autism In Motorsports) who have some very talented drivers. Their aim is to bring in and inspire young people with autism into the world of motorsport to see if it is the right competitive sport for them.
I want to help inspire people with autism that no matter what barriers that hold you down, you can still get past those walls and make it into highly competitive sporting environments such as karting and make a very successful career out of it to help gain improved normality in society and most of all, equality.
Doing an interview on Women’s radio station is an important way for me to speak up for myself and the autistic community. Speaking to Anna Kennedy OBE was a huge honour and a privilege.
What keeps me positive is my racing, working with Harry Specters and now, trying to promote a positive message about living with Autism.
Richard Smith speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio
Annas guest at Women’s Radio on Monday 7th August at 1pm ‘All things Autism’ Women’s Radio is the inspirational Richard Smith.
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day, please click here to listen to these amazing shows!
Richard Smith shared: “Its Ok To Be Me”, Autism can be Awesome!
The Autistic Adoptee – From troubled childhood to autisticly awesome
Growing up without a diagnosis of ASD was difficult to say the least, struggling immensely with everyday life I didn’t understand where I fit into this world doing different behaviours but at the time I didn’t understand why I was doing them but really struggled to stop as I have felt throughout my life.
I have had to hideaway and compress everything deep inside I have learned a lot about myself and became very self-aware I feel this puts me in a very good position to help families businesses schools or the general public learn more about ASD and how they can change their environment or their behaviour to help people that have ASD I tried to show people that autism isn’t life limiting and they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
This year I released a book called “The art of weeing in the sink”. You can get a copy of this from: Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith’s and so many more……
I was 33 before I received my ASD diagnosis and when I finally did, it felt like a great weight had been lifted away and I could finally be myself.
If I had been given this diagnosis as a child and received the proper help and support, I needed, then my whole childhood would have been so different and much happier.
I never want another child to have to go through their childhood like me, having to hide their ASD for fear of punishment or criticism.
This is why I started Awesometistic.
I want to help others to understand a child with ASD. If children with ASD are supported correctly throughout their life, there is no reason why they cannot go fulfil their own dreams. Look at me!
For more details, please click here for more more details on the Awesometistics website.
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This week on ‘All Things Autism’, Anna spoke to Dion Brown and Sean Kennedy about a recent collaboration between the Metropolitan Police Service and AnnaKennedyOnline.
The fruitful collaboration between AnnaKennedyonline and the Metropolitan Police has resulted in the recent production of the highly valuable “Stop and Search – Guidance for Autistic People,” with substantial input from autistic individuals. This document serves three crucial purposes.
First and foremost, it offers profound insights into stop and search procedures, shedding light on why police services consider it an indispensable tool for crime detection and prevention. Emphasising the utmost importance of respect and adherence to the United Kingdom’s rigorous standards, the guidance advocates for responsible implementation.
Secondly, it strives to enhance police officers’ comprehension of autism, underlining the necessity for reasonable adjustments when engaging with autistic individuals. This heightened awareness fosters more considerate and effective interactions.
Thirdly, the guidance powerfully conveys the genuine value police services place on autistic individuals. It warmly encourages them to explore diverse job opportunities within the police service, provided they meet the required selection criteria.
The impact of this guidance has been positive. Notably, it has garnered widespread acclaim and sparked a ripple effect, inspiring other police services to initiate local initiatives inspired by its contents. Autistic individuals have responded with positive feedback, with some expressing a newfound eagerness to collaborate closely with their local police service – a truly commendable achievement. Such success reinforces the path towards greater understanding, inclusivity, and cooperation between the police and autistic community.
Overall, the guidance stands as a testament to the positive influence of collaboration. It serves as an indispensable resource, fostering a harmonious and supportive relationship between the police and autistic individuals nationwide.
Should anyone wish to download the guidance, it can be found here:
Annas guest at Women’s Radio was Dr Ian C E Hale
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week. Please see www.womensradiostation.com
Dr Ian C E Hale shared:
To be clear …. it’s important to put my book and other work into context by knowing a little of their origins. I’m an Autistic person. It’s an indivisible part of who I am as an individual; it informs, goads and limits every thought and act of my life-but I refuse to let it define me. I’m a sportsman, poet, photographer, medical scientist and more-but first and foremost, a human being, with the same fears, hopes, weaknesses and feelings as everyone else.
I’m Asperger’s Syndrome, with mild Autism, Dyslexia and moderate Dyscalculia. To the best of my knowledge these traits have been passed down through previous generations of the family on my father’s side since the 18th Century. I have found written records: correspondence, diaries, and poetry from family archives of many forebears, their friends and colleagues.
I’m from the historic City of Bristol, England, a member of British Mensa, the World Academy of Medical Science, The Athenian Society and a graduate of Portsmouth, Bristol and Bath Spa Universities. My professional background is in Further and Higher education, SEND and genetics. I have four cats, Tisha, George, Pearl and Thor.
Being an author and private consultant https://policy.onuniverse.com/ in neurodiversity is one thing, but by being one I bring a unique dimension to its understanding and implications, which is one of the main reasons for writing the book-only someone who lives it truly knows what it’s like. This isn’t only academic theory or clinical observation- this is how it lives, good and bad.
I believe that WE are the best judges of what we need and should be involved at every level in all decisions made about us. The book is a definite aid to informing and empowering that goal. Because of that family experience, autism was always a part of everyday life for me. That understanding, combine with my experience, gives my work a unique perspective.
Autism is for life, including senior care, a fact seldom considered by social agencies. No-one “grows out” of Autism; it’s not “a phase”. The vulnerable child grows into a vulnerable adult at all stages of life. That’s the reason why parents and carers worry so much about the future of their children and are often accused of being “fussy” or “over-protective”.
The harsh truth is they are always thinking; “what will happen to MY child when we have passed or are no longer able to protect and speak for him/her”? That’s my goal-to be the voice for those who have none.