Mar 9, 2023 | Autism's Got Talent, TV coverage
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
Feb 28, 2023 | Anna, TV coverage
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
Jan 14, 2021 | News, TV coverage
“Harvey and Me” an important BBC Documentary
Harvey Price is our Antibullying Ambassador and Anna Kennedy OBE contributed to this documentary which was aired on Monday 25 January at 8.30pm on BBC One. This is now available on BBC iPlayer: Click here to watch!
The new BBC One film showed “what it’s really like to be a mum of a disabled child approaching adulthood,” the broadcaster said. It captured their life as “Harvey moves from child to adult services”, with Katie Price having “difficult decisions to make about his future”. In this deeply personal one-off film, Katie Price and Harvey opened up about their lives as Harvey turns 18 and decisions need to be made about his future.
Anna shared: “I am proud to have been part of this BBC One documentary created by Minnow films and I helped the producers with some of the research. It was important to me they included mental health. #HarveyandMe as a documentary is valuable because it gives an honest account of the challenges parents face in finding post 18 provision. I like the way it makes it clear if you don’t get that right the negative consequences can last for a long time. Katie’s devotion to Harvey is clear for all to see. Harvey, Katie and I would like to thank you for all your messages of support”.
Katie shared: “Being a parent of a child with complex needs, as Harvey has, presents daily challenges. Simple day-to-day things that other people take for granted can take all day. Every day presents a new challenge, no two days are the same. We have learnt and grown together, and together we have built our private world, a bond between mother and son which goes deeper than most – we are unbreakable”.
The BBC said the commission is part of its commitment to boosting disability representation on and off screen.
Its content director Charlotte Moore shared: “I would like to thank Katie Price for opening up in this important and very personal film. Katie’s life has played out in public, but one thing she has always kept private is the day-to-day realities of being mum to her son Harvey. As he turns 18, Katie faces difficult decisions about his future and wants to help people understand the realities and challenges of bringing up a child with a disability, and to see what Harvey’s life is really like. We hope this film will have a huge impact and help advance the conversation around disability in the UK.”
Katie Price: Harvey and Me was aired on Monday 25 January, 8.30pm on BBC One. Click here to watch this on BBC iPlayer.
Sep 15, 2020 | News, TV coverage
On July 30th at 11am our Charity Ambassador Kacey Ainsworth spoke to Anna Kennedy about ‘All things Autism and Life in Lock-down.
About Kacey Ainsworth
Kacey has been working in the entertainment industry since 1978. She is a multi-awarding winning actress who came into prominence for her portrayal of Little Mo in Eastenders. Since then she has starred in lots of TV shows including Holly Blue, Grantchester, Call the Midwife and as a very evil witch in cbbc’s The Worst Witch.
After several members of her family were diagnosed with #Autism she decided to get actively involved in raising awareness of autistic spectrum disorders and promoting inclusion for those on the spectrum and I am proud to say one of our Charity Ambassadors.
Please watch the video below
Jun 5, 2020 | News, TV coverage
Anna Kennedy OBE was invited to the preview screenings of episode one of both series of BBC One’s returning drama ‘The A Word‘ .
I was excited to see now how series 3 of ‘The A Word’ picks up a few years on from where the programme left Joe now 10 years old who is played by the talented actor Max Vento and how is character has evolved and how he has changed and progressed.
Writer Peter Bowker chatted to Anna at the premiere of the second series sharing: “Autistic is a word Joe has heard but can’t yet understand. Different is what he feels, and fears might be something bad. It’s up to the whole family to help Joe make sense of who he is and his place in the world. But to do that, they must first be honest about themselves…”
The series stars Christopher Eccelston, Lee Ingleby, Morven Christie, Greg McHugh and Molly Wright.
Autism Campaigner Anna Kennedy is enjoying the third series and felt Peter Bowker had taken on board comments and reviews made by families of children with autism from the first two series.
I am loving the relation of Max with his sister its so lovely.
I also love Christopher Eccleston character his facial expressions are priceless.
Another of my favourite characters is the Actor Travis Smith who plays the character Mark Berwick.
Travis is autistic and is doing a fabulous job and a great role model for the autism community.
Anna shared: “You are never going to please the whole of the autism community however, what the programme does is spark conversation about autism and the programme. Even though my sons are 27 and 30 there were certain scenes that pulled at my heart strings and brought back memories of the struggles, anxieties but also remembering and celebrating special moments and laughs that were shared as a family.”
Recently many parents have asked me ‘When is the right time to share your son or daughters diagnosis with them. In my opinion its when you feel it is the right time. You know your child best. It is important to work with your son or daughter’s school and plan as much as possible together to support the child. There are some great books available that can help you explain too ‘.
She concluded “I am looking forward to seeing how the series progresses until the end and look forward to the possibility of Series 4.
Nov 26, 2019 | News, TV coverage
Katie Price’s son becomes autism ambassador
“Why should Harvey be hidden away?
Just because of his disabilities, why should he be treated any different?”
After years of receiving online bullying, Katie Price’s son has become an ambassador for AKO
Harvey is supporting our anti-bullying campaign to help raise awareness of people like himself – and Katie says it’s also helped her meet other families like her own.
Please watch this powerful footage