Inside Our Autistic Minds, hosted by naturalist Chris Packham, Nominated for Grierson Award
Packham was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that has now officially been absorbed into the definition of the Autism Spectrum in his early 40s. With his own story helping facilitate understanding of autism, Chris will interview others living with autism during the programme to display the range of experiences.
Anna Kennedy OBE was approached by the BBC 2 programme about one of her Ambassadors Ethan Khumalo.
Anna shares : “We are all proud that Ethan Khumalo one of our charity Ambassadors is part of this documentary and his story will be in Part 2 the following Tuesday February 21st.”
Ethan shares his experience: “It has been a different and enjoyable experience for me to be a part of the documentary.
From the process of applying for the documentary, to then filming scenes for my parts of the upcoming second episode of the show, everything about the filming process was life changing.
Meeting up with Chris Packham, who was very down to Earth, it was amazing getting to spend time with him both on and off camera during the filming days that I had with him. Alongside meeting other members of the crew, especially when I got to spend time and had some fun moments with them off camera as well. I had so many favourite moments during the filming process of the show but I can’t really talk about those too much on here, you’ll find out why when they appear on the screen. 😅
But all in all, this was something I would have never thought of even having in the first place, I am grateful for this whole experience because I get to show how my own mind is represented and also show it to other people. I’m glad I’ve managed to do this and I can’t wait to show this to everyone who is watching on BBC2.”
Ethan has been an Ambassador for Anna’s charity for 4 years and he won a scholarship through the charity for Pineapple Performing Arts after performing on the wellknown show Autism’s got Talent.
Inside our Autistic Minds – Best Constructed or Formatted Documentary Series and Best Science Documentary
Grierson Awards: shortlist announced
Magic is much more than a hobby for Angus – it has been his way of gaining credibility with his peers. Having been bullied through his school life and not being able to find any common ground with people his own age, suddenly they were watching him with interest and asking him to entertain them.
The business has grown through word of mouth and started in the local pub where Angus would go in to work the tables, suggesting that any tips would be welcome. He probably wouldn’t have done this, had he not had autism with ADHD because the plus side of such conditions is that there is very little fear of consequences so he didn’t even consider that some people may reject him. Through those nights at the local pub, he got his first wedding gig and work has been rolling in through referrals.
Other than his family who have been very supportive, the other person Angus has to thank for really helping his career is Anna Kennedy OBE, and her wonderful team, of course.
Angus shared with us how he felt when he was first on AGT:
“That night on stage for the first time in front of 600 people at the Mermaid Theatre was just like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe that all those people were watching me and that I could hold their attention. I loved the whole day because I could be myself and meet other people being themselves too and it was great for my parents to meet other parents and hear their stories. It all went so quickly after months of preparation and I wanted to do it all over again. Since AGT 2016, I have had so many amazing opportunities, like doing magic at the Autism Hero Awards and performing again at Autism’s got Talent 2017 and now his first television appearance alongside Anna Sky Tv’s Chrissy B Show.”
“My dream is to get an agent to help me build on my success and to become a member of The Magic Circle. I would love to do more stage work and to keep bringing magic into people’s lives, both young and old. One day soon I hope to be doing magic full time. ‘
If you would like to enter our 12th year of Autism’s got Talent send in your entry to www.annakennedyonline.com closing date 1st May .
#autism #charity #Angus
Ready Eddie Go!
Ready Eddie Go! (3+), is based on the Eddie Series Books, written by award winning-author, Nikki Saunders. The series sees loveable character Eddie who is autistic taken step-by-step through new experiences and situations such as a trip to the barbers, so when he encounters this in real life, he’s ready to go. Narration from Jodie Whittaker. The Eddie books are inspired by the author’s authentic beautiful autism journey with her son.
About the author – Nikki is the author of the Eddie Series Books, mum to two lovely boys and worked in Special Education. Nikki’s son was diagnosed autistic aged 3 and she found a lack of inclusion on the bookshelves. After scribbling social stories for mainstream situations, Nikki used her creative eye and went on to publish, “My Awesome Autism” for her son. It was such a success, that she wanted to share this with other children and their families worldwide and normalise conversations about neurodiversity everywhere. Nikki receives many heartwarming comments and messages in receipt of her books connecting with families globally.
As a child I had always enjoyed reading stories and writing my own. I was a very grounded, happy little girl with challenges around me that I didn’t understand, however this taught me great empathy for others and their needs. We didn’t have much material wise growing up, not that I had ever noticed. But what we did have was family, friends, strong morals of kindness, respect and the gratitude to see the beauty in everything! Growing up, I would call out unkindness, or any wrongdoing to others. Lifting others up and empowering them was very much important to me from a young age and still is. Later in life I went on to work with adults with learning disabilities, then in mainstream and SEN provision with children with severe and complex challenges and beautiful hearts, who taught me so much.
My son was diagnosed autistic, with sensory processing and hypermobility at 3 years old. His speech came later, but as his mum I knew what he wanted and his words came when he was ready. The wait for a diagnosis and being passed around to different people was very frustrating, though I know too well that families are sadly waiting years. He has taught me so much, slowing me down to look at life through his beautiful lens finding patterns and beauty in everything. He had a huge love for wheels, anything that could spin, numbers, letters, shapes and being outside. Changes in routine, certain social situations, and busy places were a big challenge for him. I wanted to show everyone that if you could just slow down and join his world, you will experience so much love and joy like us. In 2019 Nikki wrote ‘My Awesome Autism’ for her son and what a beautiful success it was in their home. A very special moment! I had searched for books when my son was a toddler, something bright and beautiful for children! I couldn’t find anything and again in 2019 I couldn’t find anything then either. There wasn’t a lot of talk about autism then and no one in my friends circle had experienced autism before. I asked the assistant in the book shop for a children’s book about autism to be told.. ‘we don’t stock that sort of book.’ Wait, what? Why? She didn’t mean anything by it, but it really bothered me, I wanted better for my son and for so many other children! A clear indication right there on why we need to do more and build some steps ourselves and jump over these fences! We have a long way to go. There should be a broad representation in books and T.V for many different neurodiverse children including physical differences, not just one or two. So back to my trusty pen, paper and stapler, I sat and scribbled my social story like I would with any previous scenario. I really wanted to get this right for him as I felt like we are in a world that doesn’t fully understand autism yet. I wanted to show him how wonderful he is, highlight his strengths and visually explain strategies he can use and how much I am there to support him with any challenge, knowing how much he is valued, loved and will shine inspiring others too. There wasn’t much discussion about neurodiversity as there is now, however the book is all about differences we can see and some we cannot. The fact we are all different from one another is wonderful and special! We read the book together at a time that suited him, it’s a lot to take in when relating it to yourself. The result was magical! He loved it and felt SO proud. After laughing at my stick men and correcting my grammar… he told everyone about what makes him who he is and about his special book! I then decided to publish the book, build up my social media and try to reach other families too! He was very excited about this! The book and series is very special to us as I had the character designed to look similar to my son, with his great grandfather’s name ‘Eddie’ who sadly passed away after my son was born. His great grandfather Edward Saunders was from Bethnal Green and fought in WW2, he wrote the most incredibly insightful and humbling life stories.
Parents, carers and teachers began asking me for a book for siblings, so along with our journey of experiences came more books in the Eddie Series! My youngest son had started school and also needed visual supports so along came my next book ‘I’m Going To School’ transition workbook! It’s something that I could have done with when my eldest went from nursery to primary school. I felt like the nursery understood him so well and that I had to start again with primary and help them to understand everything about my child. I can remember asking for photos and doing things a bit differently from other parents just to try and make the transition easier for him. In lockdown I released the ‘I’m Going To School’ PDFs for free because I wanted parents to have a useful resource they could use to explore how their child was feeling. I know that not everyone can afford lots of resources, so I wanted to find those people and help. The idea is that you can add photos to the workbook with the child to help them become familiar with the new setting – they could be photos of the teacher, the toilets, where to put your bag, and how to ask for help. With those visuals in one place for the child to enable processing time, this also creates good communication between home and school. It was very popular and I was up late for a good few nights emailing it out! Shortly after this a team of Educational Psychologists asked me to collaborate in creating ‘Welcome Back Eddie After Lockdown’ to support children in their return during the pandemic. What an honour. Children are at the heart of everything I do. I want to help lift up and encourage all children who come into contact with me, whether it be directly during my day or through my work. Ready Eddie Go! is all about children being able to fulfil their wishes, achieve their hopes and dreams! I hope many neurodiverse individuals feel represented and others can also be encouraged whilst learning how to help and support their friends. This isn’t just about goals for me, these are my values and my passion.
After releasing My Awesome Autism, my Dad and I had conversations about autism and said he thinks he is autistic. He has always been a very wise and kind person, but struggled a lot back in the day. I could always feel when he needed a little help with something or had to plan ahead. I think it’s wonderful that his grandsons’ experience has helped him too. We are all learning all the time. I am grateful to him too, for the experiences he taught me as a child as I trotted beside him, subtly learning about autism. One thing he did teach me was ‘you just have to find another way!’ Everyone deserves to feel represented and heard. Therefore I am super grateful to the wonderful production team behind Ready Eddie Go! and to Ian France and Lucy Murphy at Sky Kids for listening to our story and believing in my passion