Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Pershy Mgadamika and Mala Thapar speak to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Pershy Mgadamika and Mala Thapar speak to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Pershy Mgadamika and Mala Thapar speak to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Annas guest at Women’s Radio on Monday 17th January at 1pm on ‘All things Autism’ Women’s Radio were Pershy Mgadamika and Mala Thapar .

‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day, please click here to listen to these amazing shows!

About Pershy

One of our 2 guests today is Pershy Mgadamika, an African woman who’s lived in England since her late teens. She is also Ethan’s mum, one of our AKO ambassadors. He is 19 years old black and autistic. They live in Essex.

I am sad - by Pershy MgadamikaPershy holds a BA (hons) in Special Education studies. She has worked in education and community settings with autistic people. She attributes her experience as Ethan’s mum as most prized, it makes her relatable to people who are in the same situation as herself. In 2010, with a grant from Southend council, she set up a support group for African and Caribbean families with special needs children.

The support group was run at a local sure start centre on Saturday mornings. It ran for 9 months. Her aim for the group was to empower the parents in her community with information and advice of services that impact most families looking after a special needs child.

Here’s how Pershy describes herself…..

My star sign is Taurus, l can be very stubborn. My stubbornness has been an advantage getting services for my son, Ethan. Ethan is 19, black and autistic. We live in Essex with his dad and sister.

I love summer and colourful clothes with my big necklaces and earrings. Just the thought of long days, blue skys, bbqs, a glass of rosé and being in the garden puts a smile on my face.

I first met Anna (and the ladies) in 2016, l loved how we were looked after. The atmosphere was amazing. Ethan was relaxed, speaking to new people, laughing and looked genuinely happy. Afterwards he said to me how much he loved being part of the group he was going to come back next year, and he did. And has performed as a dancer at loads of events for AKO.

Looking back, this journey hasn’t always been easy. There was a time when we were alone trying to figure out how to navigate the complex and emotionally taxing system. We quickly learnt to fight, so that Ethan could get what he needed to get the right services provided for him. I remember being told he had to wait a year to get a nursery place at an autism resource base since he was a September baby. There was no social media back then, no one could help me. I managed to convince the school to take him despite his age.

The victory was short lived l had to apply for a statement (EHCP) for him. No one had told us this. Soon as something is in place, you quickly learn, there’s something else that is needed, it is never ending . Yet my experiences have taught me to help others get what they need as well. In this “special needs jungle” one needs allies, people that will answer your call when nothing is working.

People that will not judge you when you want to vent, cry or fight the system. My biggest joy is knowing strangers can call me and l will always support them, especially those from my community because we understand each other. We understand how as a minority there are certain hoops we have to jump.

The past year has been the most challenging, l have long Covid. I am the percentage of the population that hasn’t been able to fight off this virus entirely. As a parent to an adult-child with autism, unfortunately my pain and less energetic self can wait, autism challenges can not. I know loads of parents in a similar situation to mine; if not worse, yet we still have to care for our children. There’s no day off from autism. No day off from inequalities in our system. We fight for another day.

About Mala

Mala Thapar is a British born Asian with two sons who have ASD, her eldest son is age 17 and he is enthusiastic about a career in Media.

MalaIn 2011 she reached out to Anna after watching her on the ITV news promote the Give Us a Break campaign. After meeting Anna, Mala was overjoyed when she was offered a voluntary role as a Charity Champion which has been an incredible journey; she is now the Culture Campaign and Communications Officer at AKO.

More recently she joined The Garwood Foundation who promote the care, welfare, interest, treatment, and advancement of education of adults and children having cerebral palsy and other profound, multiple, acquired, or other disabilities, as a Trustee.

Mala is also a board member for a foundation of Black and Ethnic Minority Community Organisations that network across the country. Alongside these responsibilities she is also participates in various networking panels for community organisations to preside equal representation and based on intersectional needs and discrimination.

Since having her own children and hoping that microaggressions and bias treatment would change, which they have not as over many years she has continued to observed inequalities and systematic disadvantage facing disabled people from communities; and how inclusivity and diversity issues related to her own personal lived-in experiences.

Mala shared:
“Misunderstanding cultural differences can compound systemic racism, so having two protected characteristics (race and disability) rather than just one is a double-edged sword. On mainstream media the series of short films “Small Axe” that was aired on the BBC, there was one episode on Education, which covered and revealed how black children have the odds stacked against them and whilst this was based on a true-life story, this happens now in 2022, but is simply ignored.

The response the SEND child receives could vary depending on the setting and the child’s, and the teacher’s, individual perceptions. Misunderstanding cultural differences can compound systemic racism, so having two protected characteristics (race and disability) rather than just one is a double-edged sword. It was clearly obvious that voices are not being heard because of institutional racism, whichever way it’s covered up. Disability, coupled with ethnicity, can mean double the victimisation, bullying, and/or disempowerment.

Ethnic communities are often referred to as “hard to reach” but are only hard to reach if there are insufficient efforts made. Cultural stigmatisation and unnecessary family pressure are just additional strains placed on parents that are unjustified and unfair.

After years of frustration of this long-standing issue of the inequalities faced by ethnic communities; in between the 3rd and 4th tribunals of Summer 2020 where yet again I was fighting for my eldest son’s placement, I noticed an alarming discovery whereby I had spotted since 2017, there was missing data recorded for SEND tribunals for ethnic communities. I tried to obtain the reasoning and the logic behind and after contacting the Ministry of Justice was given a weak response. I was frustrated that my FOI request was never properly answered, which gave an impression the justice system is withholding information.

During this period, I was networking with various individuals and subsequently, the Runnymede trust requested a call out for evidence following the ridiculous Sewell report that was published after the race disparities report issued by the Government. The information published, led by Dr Tony Sewell, who publicly declared he “does not believe Britain is institutionally racist”, within his 258-page report there was no mention of disabled families within this “report”, but since the race report was published, Sewell stated that the commission did find evidence of ‘persistent discrimination’ despite the narrative.

Finding the racial minority voices in SENDThrough social media I met Marguerite Haye who is an editor at SNJ. I shared my outrage and findings with Marguerite, and we worked on an article together after conveying our individual experience and networking of other parents in our communities, specifically in education where there are clear disparities.

Special Needs Jungle published this in November 2021 including links to the missing tribunal stats; there will be some further collaborations to this: Finding the racial minority voices in SEND”.

Autism and Cultural Issues Campaign – Survey

Anna Kennedy Online launched Autism and cultural issues campaign a few years ago called “#Togetherweareacommunity” which we shall continue to highlight.

Anna Kennedy OBE Autism Campaigner throughout the years has spoken to many families who are experiencing cultural stigmatisation, and this is unnecessary family pressure and an additional strain placed on parents that is unjustified and unfair. We want to support everyone and promote inclusion and reach out to families affected. We are all equal.

Please click here to complete this short survey and share with friends and family.

#Togetherweareacommunity

Today’s guests on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio were Pershy and Mala

Today’s guests on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio were Pershy and Mala

Today’s guests on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio were Pershy Mgadamika and Mala Thapar

Both spoke about their individual perspectives about lived in experiences of Autism within their communities.

About Pershy

One of our 2 guests today is Pershy Mgadamika, an African woman who’s lived in England since her late teens. She is also Ethan’s mum, one of our AKO ambassadors. He is 19 years old black and autistic. They live in Essex.

I am sad - by Pershy MgadamikaPershy holds a BA (hons) in Special Education studies. She has worked in education and community settings with autistic people. She attributes her experience as Ethan’s mum as most prized, it makes her relatable to people who are in the same situation as herself.

In 2010, with a grant from Southend council, she set up a support group for African and Caribbean families with special needs children. The support group was run at a local sure start centre on Saturday mornings. It ran for 9 months. Her aim for the group was to empower the parents in her community with information and advice of services that impact most families looking after a special needs child.

Here’s how Pershy describes herself…..

My star sign is Taurus, l can be very stubborn. My stubbornness has been an advantage getting services for my son, Ethan. Ethan is 19, black and autistic. We live in Essex with his dad and sister.

I love summer and colourful clothes with my big necklaces and earrings. Just the thought of long days, blue skys, bbqs, a glass of rosé and being in the garden puts a smile on my face.

I first met Anna (and the ladies) in 2016, l loved how we were looked after. The atmosphere was amazing. Ethan was relaxed, speaking to new people, laughing and looked genuinely happy. Afterwards he said to me how much he loved being part of the group he was going to come back next year, and he did. And has performed as a dancer at loads of events for AKO.

Looking back, this journey hasn’t always been easy. There was a time when we were alone trying to figure out how to navigate the complex and emotionally taxing system. We quickly learnt to fight, so that Ethan could get what he needed to get the right services provided for him. I remember being told he had to wait a year to get a nursery place at an autism resource base since he was a September baby. There was no social media back then, no one could help me. I managed to convince the school to take him despite his age.

The victory was short lived l had to apply for a statement (EHCP) for him. No one had told us this. Soon as something is in place, you quickly learn, there’s something else that is needed, it is never ending . Yet my experiences have taught me to help others get what they need as well. In this “special needs jungle” one needs allies, people that will answer your call when nothing is working. People that will not judge you when you want to vent, cry or fight the system. My biggest joy is knowing strangers can call me and l will always support them, especially those from my community because we understand each other. We understand how as a minority there are certain hoops we have to jump.

The past year has been the most challenging, l have long Covid. I am the percentage of the population that hasn’t been able to fight off this virus entirely. As a parent to an adult-child with autism, unfortunately my pain and less energetic self can wait, autism challenges can not. I know loads of parents in a similar situation to mine; if not worse, yet we still have to care for our children. There’s no day off from autism. No day off from inequalities in our system. We fight for another day.

About Mala

Mala Thapar is a British born Asian with two sons who have ASD, her eldest son is age 17 and he is enthusiastic about a career in Media.

MalaIn 2011 she reached out to Anna after watching her on the ITV news promote the Give Us a Break campaign. After meeting Anna, Mala was overjoyed when she was offered a voluntary role as a Charity Champion which has been an incredible journey; she is now the Culture Campaign and Communications Officer at AKO.

More recently she joined The Garwood Foundation who promote the care, welfare, interest, treatment, and advancement of education of adults and children having cerebral palsy and other profound, multiple, acquired, or other disabilities, as a Trustee. Mala is also a board member for a foundation of Black and Ethnic Minority Community Organisations that network across the country. Alongside these responsibilities she is also participates in various networking panels for community organisations to preside equal representation and based on intersectional needs and discrimination.

Since having her own children and hoping that microaggressions and bias treatment would change, which they have not as over many years she has continued to observed inequalities and systematic disadvantage facing disabled people from communities; and how inclusivity and diversity issues related to her own personal lived-in experiences.

Mala shared:
“Misunderstanding cultural differences can compound systemic racism, so having two protected characteristics (race and disability) rather than just one is a double-edged sword. On mainstream media the series of short films “Small Axe” that was aired on the BBC, there was one episode on Education, which covered and revealed how black children have the odds stacked against them and whilst this was based on a true-life story, this happens now in 2022, but is simply ignored.

The response the SEND child receives could vary depending on the setting and the child’s, and the teacher’s, individual perceptions. Misunderstanding cultural differences can compound systemic racism, so having two protected characteristics (race and disability) rather than just one is a double-edged sword. It was clearly obvious that voices are not being heard because of institutional racism, whichever way it’s covered up. Disability, coupled with ethnicity, can mean double the victimisation, bullying, and/or disempowerment.

Ethnic communities are often referred to as “hard to reach” but are only hard to reach if there are insufficient efforts made. Cultural stigmatisation and unnecessary family pressure are just additional strains placed on parents that are unjustified and unfair.

After years of frustration of this long-standing issue of the inequalities faced by ethnic communities; in between the 3rd and 4th tribunals of Summer 2020 where yet again I was fighting for my eldest son’s placement, I noticed an alarming discovery whereby I had spotted since 2017, there was missing data recorded for SEND tribunals for ethnic communities. I tried to obtain the reasoning and the logic behind and after contacting the Ministry of Justice was given a weak response. I was frustrated that my FOI request was never properly answered, which gave an impression the justice system is withholding information.

During this period, I was networking with various individuals and subsequently, the Runnymede trust requested a call out for evidence following the ridiculous Sewell report that was published after the race disparities report issued by the Government. The information published, led by Dr Tony Sewell, who publicly declared he “does not believe Britain is institutionally racist”, within his 258-page report there was no mention of disabled families within this “report”, but since the race report was published, Sewell stated that the commission did find evidence of ‘persistent discrimination’ despite the narrative.

Finding the racial minority voices in SENDThrough social media I met Marguerite Haye who is an editor at SNJ. I shared my outrage and findings with Marguerite, and we worked on an article together after conveying our individual experience and networking of other parents in our communities, specifically in education where there are clear disparities.

Special Needs Jungle published this in November 2021 including links to the missing tribunal stats; there will be some further collaborations to this: Finding the racial minority voices in SEND”.

Autism and Cultural Issues Campaign – Survey

Anna Kennedy Online launched Autism and cultural issues campaign a few years ago called “#Togetherweareacommunity” which we shall continue to highlight.

Anna Kennedy OBE Autism Campaigner throughout the years has spoken to many families who are experiencing cultural stigmatisation, and this is unnecessary family pressure and an additional strain placed on parents that is unjustified and unfair. We want to support everyone and promote inclusion and reach out to families affected. We are all equal.

Please click here to complete this short survey and share with friends and family.

#Togetherweareacommunity

Richard Smith speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Richard Smith speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Richard Smith speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Annas guest at Women’s Radio on Monday 6th December 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……

Richard Smith

About Me….!

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 Awesometistic​s website.

Please click on the icons below for social media details:

Today’s guest on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio in Essex was Thomas Henley

Today’s guest on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio in Essex was Thomas Henley

Today’s guest on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio in Essex was Thomas Henley 

Thomas Henley is an Autism and Mental Health advocate, creating YouTube videos, podcasts and documentaries.

With a degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University Of Manchester, a Commonwealth gold medal in Taekwondo, and a talent for public speaking, Thomas seeks to raise awareness and support others on their own personal growth journey.

Thomas’ motives come from his long history with Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders and Panic Disorders. Experienced in Special Needs teaching, human sciences, and how to help others understand his conditions, he seeks to bring a new face to Autism and Mental Health disorders.

Contact details: Website – https://thomashenley.co.uk/

Social media details below:

Oliver Jude young autistic entrepreneur speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Oliver Jude young autistic entrepreneur speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio

Oliver Jude young autistic entrepreneur speaks to Anna Kennedy on Women’s Radio​

Annas guest at Women’s Radio on Monday 22nd November at 1pm ‘All things Autism’ Women’s Radio is the inspirational Oliver Jude.

‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day, please click here to listen to these amazing shows!

Oliver Jude is a 17 year-old young entrepreneur from St Helens, after being rejected by the educational system from a young age and facing many difficulties in getting support from the school, from being bullied by staff and students to being isolated every day for months at a time as punishment to something that was simply down to being mis-understood, Oliver and his parents fought for the support and moved him schools to Rainford High which was the best decision they could ever make. 

Oliver Jude

Flourishing in Rainford High with the right support that Oliver needed he then went on to start his positivity clothing brand, Oliver Jude Clothing in December of 2018.

This was just one of Oliver’s’ many other entrepreneurial ideas from being very business focused at a young age, we all knew that Oliver would one day own a business and become a successful entrepreneur. 

Only a matter of months into the business Oliver was awarded with the ‘Young Community Star Award’ at the Pride of St Helens and then went on to launch a new collection with even more positivity slogans onto a variety of different clothing. 

From this Oliver went on to build his network and brand reputation being invited to many gala dinners, charity fundraisers and business launches with celebrities such as Towie’s Gemma Collins, Real Housewives of Cheshire Dawn Ward and Tanya Bardsley and receiving support on social media from Phones4U Billionaire John Caudwell. 

Oliver also was recognised by Buzz Talent Agency in London and was approached with the opportunity of his fashion brand being featured on the runway at London Fashion Week with a range of diverse models all empowering diversity and inclusion.

Oliver was recently awarded with Creative Entrepreneur of the Year award by MD Creatives and Communications Plus.  To now be awarded with Entrepreneur of the Year by MD Creatives and Communication Plus.

Oliver shared: 

“It’s been a very overwhelming journey from building a brand after such trauma through the educational system and after receiving so much support around the expansion of my business in the past 12 months on the creative entrepreneur course at MD it’s given me a real insight to scaling a business and now looking at what’s next for the business, how and where the money is going to be invested is yet to be discussed with mentoring from MD and Communications Plus but what I do know is I have a vision that will be brought to life in the coming months and this is what is going to take my business to the next level, I just want to finish by saying a huge thank you to Miguel and Michael for supporting me and to be now part of my journey it really does mean a lot.” 

Oliver Jude Contact Details: E-Mail: olly@oliverjudeclothing.com

Oliver Jude
Oliver Jude
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