Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity



Our day to day emotional state is a direct communication of how we are feeling mentally.

Particularly for those of us who are neurodiverse, this emotional communication is even more important to listen to due to all the masking, autistic hangovers, burnout and eventually complete shut downs as a result of trying to “appear normal”.



The lack of true awareness and education surrounding neurodivergence only emphasises and supports the chronic lack of support and understanding.

Our emotions are signals to us ; our bodies bringing our attention to something, often letting us know when something within ourselves is out of kilter.

Stress means we need to slow down and apply some self care. Not always easy in this fast paced world, I know.

Anxiety means you’re not feeling safe and need calm and grounding.

Anger and frustration can often be tiredness, overwhelm, a result of masking for too long.


Not feeling bothered or having enough energy for personal care, self isolating from those who love you, falling behind with things, a negative change in your sleep pattern, or a lack of passion for things you normally enjoy are strong symptoms of depression.

If you are isolating, not responding to family of friends, struggling to get out of bed, feeling less patient or more irritable, feeling overwhelmed or on edge, living in clutter or mess and have stopped doing the things that keep you mentally healthy, you could well be suffering from mental health illness.

Taking some time for you is so important.



Whether it’s a simple 5 minute daily yoga routine, self massage/self soothing, journaling, exercising, meditating ( including listening to guided visualisations which can be accessed freely on apps like YouTube, reducing your social media intake, spending time in nature or simply reading a chapter of a book will all help.

A good diet and exercising/ moving your body is also invaluable.

Here are a few ideas and therapies you can use daily to regulate and boost your emotions and mental health.

Daily routines


Yoga for sleep


Self massage/self soothing routine


Meditation to release anxiety

I hope that some of these ideas will help you all stay on top of those emotions and nourish your mental health in these busy and uncertain times we live in.

See you next week !

Lots of love,

Giuliana xx





Anxiety is at an all time peak . Suffering from long term or persistent anxiety is a silent & vicious disability that is effecting so many of us now. This is often heightened during times of transition, especially the return to school.

Left untreated anxiety can often have extremely serious & even fatal effects. Currently the UK has the highest suicide rate in the world, particularly among our young people & self harm has increased by a staggering 68% in the last 5 years

There is a world of difference between moments of anxiety & suffering with anxiety.

Anxiety is truly disabling & panic attacks paralysing.

Feeling anxious all the time impedes life & living fully. It’s truly horrible.



It’s really important that we check in with ourselves & our children on how exactly we are feeling each day & where we are feeling this in our bodies.

Non verbal children can eye point or finger point to the charts I’ve included here.

Rather than ask “How was school today ?”, why not ask how you or your children have felt today. Were they sad or worried at any point, or happy or excited. Were they lonely or upset & most importantly why? Where did they feel it inside their bodies and what can we do to get the positive happy and coping chemicals flowing again ?



Taking care of our mental health is paramount. If we don’t take care of our mental health, everything else will spiral, often leaving you mentally & even physically ill.

Self care & being in touch with ourselves & others couldn’t carry a greater value.

Here are some easily accessible ideas for self care that you can do by yourself or with your family or even classrooms for 5 minute rest/movement breaks during lessons if you are a teacher.



Productivity, motivation & learning will be massively boosted along with all that gorgeous serotonin, dopamine, endorphins & oxytocin.

If you think of the well known saying “An Apple a day keeps the doctor away”, even if you choose just one exercise of activity from the enclosed self care charts, that one activity daily will help you to take charge of your mental health.

Wishing you all a very happy week,

Lots of love,




The Return to School and our Daily D.O.S.E – Giuliana Wheater

Embrace Your Daily D.O.S.E 


As we all begin a new academic  year we may have many conflicting emotions,

thoughts and anxieties.


For those of us whose children are neurodiverse in a mainstream world anyway, it can be a daunting transition.


So, here is the first massive sunbeam of light to help us all find our way through.


Whatever lies ahead as we move forwards, YOU GROW YOUR OWN BRAINS! 



Yes, it’s absolutely true!


Brains stop growing physically at around the age of 18 … but what we do with the grey matter inside them is under our control throughout our whole lives!


In other words, WE can define US! 


We can grow or shrink grey matter around our amygdala/ emotional brain (sometimes called ‘the fear centre’) and we can grow or shrink it around the hippocampus (memory and learning) and our frontal lobe which contains all those higher executive shiny brain functions.



If we are stressed for prolonged periods, or in flight or fight, the grey area around the emotional brain grows and it shrinks around the other areas causing learning and judgment to be compromised.


But we can turn this around? Yes! 


“How?”, I hear you cry!


Well it’s all about getting your daily D.O.S.E – your “happy and coping chemicals”.



Let me explain…


– Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of reward, focus, attention, concentration and motivation.

O – Oxytocin is the neurotransmitter of love, nurture which stimulates emotional intelligence. We start flooding with it within 20 seconds of touch.

S – Serotonin the neurotransmitter of happiness , confidence and self-esteem. And never has this been so needed!

AND if you make enough serotonin you then have enough to make Melatonin the neurotransmitter of sleep, mood and aggressio!

E – Endorphins the neurotransmitter of pain relief and that euphoric feeling of well-being .


And that’s not all..


Did you know that memory isn’t just carried inside your brains? We carry the day to day memory of how and who we are in our water (young children are made of 90% water and this drops to about 75% during adolescence) and it’s carried in every single one of our 37.2 TRILLION CELLS!


Touch, mindfulness, massage, acupressure, reflexology, yoga, mindfulness and meditation all HUGELY boost the positive memories we carry, that positive way of “being”.


Play therapy and any Positive Growth Mindset games /activities do the same.


The key is to meet the child where THEY are at and not where you want them to be. 


By feeling invited, by knowing they can change the insides of their brains (and yes, I share it with them all, however young), guess what happens next ?!…




As Rick Hanson PhD proved, “What fires the brain wires the brain. Every day our MINDS are building our brains”.


In other words, what we tell our children is what they become.  

And what we tell ourselves, is what WE become.  


In a relaxed and playful state, a child only needs to receive the same positive message 4-6x for a new neurological pathway to be formed !

Touch is key to this.


How can I utter this as we transition out of a pandemic? Because touch boosts immunity! And we can self-massage too which can lead to self-awareness, self- management and better self-regulation which leads to more empowerment!

Since the controversial experiments on monkeys by Harry Harlow in the 1950/60’s to the present day leaders in the field such as Darlene Francis, Michael Meaden and Tiffany Field, touch has been proven to ease stress, boost resilience, build bigger brains, better physical health, significantly higher levels of emotional and social intelligence as well as better trust and bonding.

Tiffany Field also carried this research into yoga and proved how breathing and the poses push up the dopamine and serotonin from the gut (90% of our serotonin is made in the gut).

Our gut or second/enteric brain carries so much dopamine and serotonin it could actually run as an independent nervous system. It is also the seat of meltdown, so it is a win-win!

Yoga can also improve breathing, perspective, sleep, self-awareness, focus , attention, positivity and calm.

Meditation and mindfulness MASSIVELY stimulate our 37.2 trillion cells on a subconscious level, dropping our busy heart rates down to the ideal theta level, promoting clear thinking, deep sleep, wellness, perspective, attention, resilience and productivity.


Everything we need is inside us already. We are deliciously complete, perfect and exquisite jigsaws! 


Our MINDS build our brains, not the other way around. It’s called Neuro (brain) Plasticity (being bendy).





Written by Giuliana Wheater


Author of ‘Indian Head Massage for Special Needs’, multi-award winning therapist , Wellbeing Charity Ambassador for AnnaKennedyOnline and autism Mum

🌟 Ensuring Reasonable Adjustments are Made During Recruitment 🌟

🌟 Ensuring Reasonable Adjustments are Made During Recruitment 🌟

The Equality Act 2010 requires that reasonable adjustments must be made for job candidates who are disabled to avoid any disadvantage they subject to during the recruitment process. Regrettably, this statutory requirement isn’t always adhered to – even by large public sector employees.


A  recent example involves  an autistic man, Mr. Chris Tyerman, who is set to receive £20,000 in compensation from NHS Digital. His experience sheds light on the need to make reasonable adjustments  during the recruitment process.


Mr. Tyerman applied for a cybersecurity position in August 2021 and, due to his communication difficulties, requested adjustments such as reviewing interview questions in advance and avoiding open-ended questions. Unfortunately, these requests were denied by NHS Digital, which cited the principle of treating all applicants equally. This manifest a misunderstanding of what the Equality Act 2010 actually says in s13(3):


(3)If the protected characteristic is disability, and B is not a disabled person, A does not discriminate against B only because A treats or would treat disabled persons more favourably than A treats B.


This decision was later deemed a breach of the Equality Act 2010 , leading Mr. Tyerman to decline the interview, believing the organisation wasn’t genuinely committed to providing the necessary adjustments.


In October 2021, Mr. Tyerman reapplied for another position but encountered similar issues during a telephone interview. When he sought feedback on his unsuccessful application, he was told that his responses to open-ended questions were insufficient. Subsequently, Mr. Tyerman made a claim of disability discrimination, as well as well as violations of the NHS Constitution for England and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


After a 16-month legal battle and a conciliation process led by ACAS, NHS England offered Mr. Tyerman a £20,000 settlement as compensation for injury to feelings, albeit without admitting liability. Additionally, they agreed to consider Mr. Tyerman’s feedback to enhance their approach to reasonable adjustments for disabled staff and job applicants.


Mr. Tyerman welcomed the settlement and expressed hope that it would encourage a more positive approach to recruiting neurodiverse individuals. NHS England reaffirmed its commitment to providing reasonable adjustments for candidates and staff who are disabled, using feedback to improve policies. However, recent figures have indicated a decrease in disabled staff reporting that they have all the reasonable adjustments they need.


More information about NHS England and the experience of disabled staff can be found here:

📣 Important Update on Home-to-School Travel 🚌

📣 Important Update on Home-to-School Travel 🚌

At the Charity, we receive many enquiries about home-to-school travel, and we understand that it can be a stressful issue.


While some Local Authorities (LAs) provide excellent services, others may perhaps need to acquaint themselves more fully with the legal framework.


On 29th June 2023, new “Statutory guidance for local authorities” on this subject was issued.


This document claims to be a significant step forward in clarifying the responsibilities and processes involved in ensuring children’s access to education, particularly concerning transportation.


Key points from the guidance include:


1️⃣ Parental Responsibility: Parents play a pivotal role in ensuring their children’s regular school attendance, including transportation arrangements.


2️⃣ Collaboration: The guidance emphasises collaboration between local authorities and special education teams to incorporate travel into education plans.


3️⃣ Tailored Solutions: Local authorities are required to tailor travel arrangements to individual children’s needs, recognising that distance to school is just one of many factors.


4️⃣ School Support: Schools are expected to support transportation efforts, ensuring that children can access education without barriers.


5️⃣ Transparency and Accessibility: The guidance encourages transparency, accessibility, and fair appeals processes to address any issues that may arise.


6️⃣ Sustainability: Promoting sustainable and active travel aligns with broader environmental and health goals, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts among parents, local authorities, and schools.


For parents of disabled children etc facing challenges, paragraphs 13-26 in the guidance are particularly important and worth close attention.


You can find the full guidance document here:

Putting your legs up against a wall does wonders for your body and mind!

Putting your legs up against a wall does wonders for your body and mind!

Putting your legs up against a wall does wonders for your body and mind!

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

Putting your legs up against a wall does wonders for your body and mind!

Did you know that putting your legs up against a wall for a few minutes every day does absolute wonders for your body and mental health ?

Christmas is a beautiful and magical time of year but can be really stressful and difficult too, especially if you or your child are neurodivergent .

By simply resting your legs against a wall, the whole nervous system is calmed and soothed, stress is eased and the heart rate and blood pressure come right down and stabilise again.

Blood is pumped to our core instead of all our muscles if we or our child have or are about to hit that dreaded Red Zone.

The body calms and grounds itself. Everything settles down.

Ninety percent of our serotonin, the neurotransmitter of happiness, confidence and self-esteem, is in our gut. As well as tonnes of that completely delicious dopamine which is all about attention, focus, perspective , clear thinking and the gorgeous feeling of reward.

Lying like this helps all of that zoom up the vagus nerve to the brain, leaving us calm and refreshed.

This position also improves sleep and digestion as well as reducing headaches.

If you suffer with swollen ankles or varicose veins, it’s also wonderful for this too !

Almost anyone can do it, even if assistance is needed.

The only contraindication is if you are epileptic.

So I wish you a beautiful, relaxed and happy festive season and a wonderful New Year.

See you in 2023!!!

Lots of love, Giuliana xx

Putting your legs up against a wall does wonders for your body and mind!