A lesson from my autistic brother’s severe neglect

A lesson from my autistic brother’s severe neglect

Around three weeks ago, a story I couldn’t articulate because it was too painful was shared on Sky News. I felt relief that it was no longer my parents and I who had to carry this by ourselves. Sharing our life during 2017 and 2018 was important, not only for us to process what happened, but to ensure that no other family must endure the storm we had to in the future. Autism awareness is not just an awareness on what autism is, but also the unsettling treatment of some autistic people.

I have an autistic older brother with severe learning disabilities. He is a funny, innocent, and a kind soul. Sagar enjoys swimming, nature walks, and loves music – his MP3 player is his most important possession!

For 11 years, since he was 16, my brother lived in a residential home in the tranquil countryside. He had regular home visits. He had a routine. He autism was understood, and most importantly, it was accepted.

Sagar has limited verbal speech, he can communicate if he is hungry or what song he wants to listen, but when he broke his arm, he couldn’t communicate the pain. He loves making people laugh by making “funny faces”, and he loves learning new people’s names.

For 27 years of his life since birth, Sagar never had challenging behaviour to cause concern – he was never destined to be trapped in a mental health unit. However, no autistic person should be, no matter their behaviour. It is not an environment which is autism friendly, it is quite the opposite – and this is a fundamental part of the fight for justice and system change.

He had always been a happy, settled young man. However, a storm hit us, and it hit us hard.  I was only 19 when my brother’s life changed, and I lost out on my youth because of the imperative family input that needed to be provided to save him from a failing system.

My brother was moved from this residential home he was at for 11 years and moved by Hillingdon to live in Hillingdon in a studio flat without night staff.  

The social worker, transition manager, registered manager, and the psychiatrist involved were aware that my brother’s health (mentally and physically) was rapidly declining on a day by day basis for 8 months that he was at this flat.

It is a supported living flat, and he was placed on the first floor which is not even regulated by the CQC.

We expressed that Sagar requires night staff because not only is it a documented requirement, but also that he cannot cognitively understand how to ask for help if it is needed at night as anything could happen.

Sagar could not cope, alongside several medication change from a psychiatrist who did not have his medical history records, did any tests on him, and had limited understanding of his autism, it made Sagar become even more distressed.

He would chew live wires alone at night, not sleep throughout the whole night, self-harm and his life was in danger whilst being alone at night throughout a lot of the danger. As a result, the flat he lived in became too dangerous, and with no other placement readily available, my brother was trapped in a Mental Health Unit for over one year.

Ironically, he is back in the countryside and on the same medication he was on prior to all of this starting, meaning this whole incident led to a 360 point where we landed exactly where we were around 3 years ago, but my sweet brother is just traumatised beyond measure.

Some parts of the gruelling neglect were covered on Sky News titled “Autistic Man’s ‘cry for help’ living in blood and faeces stained flat”, and it gives an insight to the 20 months my parents and I, but most importantly Sagar, lived through. Click here to read details.

I would like to take this opportunity on Anna Kennedy’s wonderful charity website to highlight the importance of autism understanding from my first-hand experience from the scandal my brother went through.

The fight is not only limited to getting justice for my brother and accountability for the staff members actively involved in this neglect. It is also about the unjust broken system designed for autistic people.

There needs to be a culture shift in staff ego, family’s input needs to be considered as paramount importance and an autistic person should be considered individually, not collectively as a statistic from the council’s perception.

Currently, there are thousands of autistic people locked in a Mental Health Unit. Statistics show hundreds of admissions could have been avoided, and hundreds are ready for discharge. We need to do better as society living in the 21st century.  This can only happen through continuing the fight for autism awareness and acceptance.

As a result of my brother’s medical neglect, the NHS has stated they would ensure that all psychiatrists check medical history records prior to changing or altering a patient’s medication. As a result of my brother’s council neglect, the Ombudsman stated that Hillingdon Council needs to review their policy on autistic residents and ensure that their needs are met.

However, this is not a win, not just yet.  History has shown that the NHS, Hillingdon Council and several other councils have been involved in scandals before – there needs to be more than promises. I hope in 2020 we continue to see the rise of autism awareness and acceptance, and the unfolding of unsettling stories which are not lost in the media or kept hidden, because autistic people deserve much better than what they have been offered so far.

Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio – Dave Bedford Auty@40 Words

Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio – Dave Bedford Auty@40 Words

​Dave Bedford is Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ on Womens Radio Station.

Dave shared the following:

My name is Dave (aka Auty@40).

I was born and bred in Lancashire. I’m not going to say I had a normal upbringing, but instead will say it was typical of that area, and the era. I was born Hard of Hearing, and went for hearing tests until I was fifteen where my Mum finally asked if there was anything that could be done.

We were told that all that was available at the time were analogue hearing aids that would amplify everything by the same level. All this would result in would be the low frequencies I currently can hear drowning out the high frequencies I struggle to hear.

They advised to perhaps come back in ten, maybe fifteen years, when maybe they would have made some advances in digital technology. I always struggled socially, and just put this down to the fact I was hard of hearing.

Though there were always certain people I had no problem interacting with, but others I always seemed to struggle with. I just told myself that I got on with other northerners, because we must have an unwritten understanding of the world and common vocabulary.

Fast forward to when I was approaching 30, and I was told I could get digital hearing aids.

As part of the process, I underwent genetics testing to try to determine the gene that was at fault for my particular hearing loss.

This was with a view to try to determine the likelihood of me passing it to my children, and reduce it if possible.

The gene could not be found, and so it was a fifty-fifty chance of me throwing my faulty gene in the pot, or my wife throwing her working gene into the mix when it came to having children.

My daughter arrived, so she went for hearing tests and sailed through.

Perfect hearing.

When my son arrived, he went for the same tests, but he would not cooperate as was expected. The hearing tests consisted of two blackened glass cabinets with toys in them. The audiologists would distract the child with a toy and then a certain frequency sound would be played from the left or the right. If they turned their head in the direction of the source of the sound, left or right, the blackened glass would become see through in the corresponding cabinet, and a toy would dance to reward them.

My son would stay focused on the initial toy, and wasn’t interested in the potential toy on reward were he to acknowledge the sounds. They thought his hearing was ok, but could never say for certain. I couldn’t help him cheat, because I couldn’t hear the tones. So extended tests were required to test his ear drums and ear bones without the need for him to give visual signs that he had heard the frequencies.

He passed these, but we got referred to speech and language, and occupational therapy, and child psychologists. I couldn’t ascertain what they expected from him, but we finally were put forward for a diagnosis and it was confirmed that he was on the Autistic Spectrum.

Upon reading the documentation, I couldn’t understand the problem. Surely everyone would struggle with the examples given and would benefit from the suggestions they provided that should help? I certainly would struggle in the same manner.

Wait. What? Just me? Why’s that then?Oh…

And so I asked my doctor to be put forward for my own diagnosis and at the age of 40, received my own diagnosis of Asperger’s. I wanted to help others in some way, and try to bridge the gap between the Neurotypical World and the Autistic World. I’d been masking, unknowingly, in the Neurotypical World for so long, I wanted to help Neurotypicals understand the challenges, and perhaps educate people enough so that the level of judging is reduced.

When a situation might be witnessed where upon first sight it may seem as though it is an unruly child and a parent with no authority, to perhaps consider, maybe that is not the case, and that there may be other factors at play.

And at the end of the day, is the scene really that much of a distraction that it warrants a frown or a scowl? How about trying a smile instead? I also wanted to document days and the areas I struggled with, but include example that have helped me cope, so that people in similar circumstances could identify and at the very least realise that they are not alone and maybe, just maybe, provide some nuggets of help within my ramblings.

And so Auty@40 (http://facebook.com/Autyat40) was born. I post there as regularly as I can and I hope people can use it to follow our (myself and my family) journey. Some days it may come across as me pin-balling through the obstacles that are presented to me. Other times, it may appear as though I have some influence over them. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I take pleasure from writing them.

Dave’s interview will be played for the rest of the week at 1pm and 1 am. www.womensradiostation.com 

THIS IS ME: inspiring self-confidence

THIS IS ME: inspiring self-confidence

‘Local hero’ and radio DJ Aston Avery uses his voice to give hope to people in the Essex community. To date, he has raised over £80,000 for various charities.

After overcoming depression so severe that he tried to take his own life the 28-year-old, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, created an inspiring video which documents his journey to self-acceptance.

THIS IS ME is now shown in schools as part of his campaign to raise awareness for those on the autistic spectrum.

Finding a voice

Aston’s incredible success is made even more amazing by the fact that he didn’t start speaking until he was six years old. In addition to autism, he was diagnosed with pica (an eating disorder that made him eat toys) and enterocolitis, which led to a full colostomy at the age of 11.

It was then that he began experiencing suicidal thoughts, resulting in an attempt to take his own life. Performance was an escape from his feelings and a year later, on the advice of his parents and GP, Aston founded a local dance school in Basildon.

In recognition of his contribution to the local community, he received a Pride of Essex award in 2012.

He went on to perform at Autism’s Got Talent at the Mermaid Theatre in London, and was awarded a scholarship from the Pineapple Performing Arts School. In 2016 he won a National Diversity Award.

Changing the lives of others

To date, Aston has raised over £80,000 for various charities. And, as an ambassador for the autism charity Anna Kennedy Online, he actively promotes autism awareness and inclusion.

With the support of his parents and a small group of helpers, he has formed Team Avery Essex, which recently launched a pamper project to reward deserving people with pampering at a high end salon.

In 2018 he completed a skydive to raise funds for an electric wheelchair for a six-year-old boy named Joshua, who has cerebral palsy and dystonia.

In March 2019, he was named a Basildon Hero.

Along with his volunteering work – for which he has received the Diana Award – he is a presenter on Gateway 97.8FM and has a monthly radio show titled ‘All Things Autism Essex’.

If that isn’t enough, in March 2020 he will be taking part in the Strictly St Luke’s charity dance to raise money for St Luke’s Hospice.

Click here to donate

From Essex to Hollywood!

Aston’s THIS IS ME video includes touching interviews with himself and his parents, plus a performance by local singers of the Golden Globe award-winning song ‘This is Me’, which features on the soundtrack of the 2017 Hollywood film The Greatest Showman.This isn’t Aston’s only brush with fame, however: through his campaigning, he has appeared in newspaper articles and met stars from TV shows like The Only Way is Essex and Loose Women.

Aston adds: “Life might throw up some challenges, but I can be proud of who I am. Autism is something that I live to embrace, and I will continue to campaign in this field to make sure that there is inclusion in all aspects of life.” “Aston-Martin sounds like an inspirational young man, who has been through a tough journey but has dedicated his time and energy into helping others through a broad variety of means. A truly outstanding individual.”

“Fab story told lots, makes me want to do more.” “I was deeply moved by this story and in awe of how many things one person has achieved considering their circumstances. I understand the anxiety of anaphylaxis and how scary it can be.”

Source: https://www.dimensions-uk.org/get-involved/campaign/leaders_list/local-communities-aston-avery-2019/

Channel 5 News: Katie Price’s son becomes autism ambassador

Channel 5 News: Katie Price’s son becomes autism ambassador

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

Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio – Steven Smith

Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio – Steven Smith

Steven Smith is Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ on Womens Radio Station.

Steven was one of the charities first Patrons and continues to support AnnaKennedyOnline.

Who is Steven Smith? 

Steven Smith was born in Coatbridge in Scotland. He was brought up in Whitley Bay, before briefly moving to London, followed by the seaside town of Brighton. It was in Brighton that he was first discovered his hairdressing skills. Steven later spent eight years living in America and working in Beverly Hills. On his return to London in the late 90s, started work in fashionable Knightsbridge, where he rose to fame. 

Among his celebrity clientele, he has styled model Katie Price, actress Denise Welch, David Hasselhoff and the cast of Baywatch. Steven had his own column in The Sun newspaper advising hair and beauty. He was a regular on the Lorraine Kelly show, transforming GMTV viewers into their favourite stars. He completed a makeover for Lorraine herself, transforming her into movie legend, Elizabeth Taylor.

Steven has been a freelance writer and PR for the last ten years, combining showbiz interviews and travel with his eye for styling. His work has been published all over the world. He is now living in London W8.

How has working with Anna Kennedy online affected your life, and how have you got involved? 

You do not need to have a family member living with autism to be affected by the stories and experiences of people with autism. To get involved in such a worthwhile campaign, you just need empathy and drive to make a difference. I was honoured to judge “Wear it for Autism”, an event where we gave people fashion makeovers as a reward for outstanding achievement.

Having judged many competitions in my time, you would think this would be an easy task! In reality, however, I was in tears after reading just two of the stories. What was highlighted in particular was the bullying of those who came under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Condition; it was horrifying. Of course, I wanted to help.

In honesty, I do not have any biological family members, with autism  but I now have a big family in Anna Kennedy online. It has been five years since I became a patron and spearheading sponsorship and celebrity backing has been part of my role. I look forward to working with and helping the various acts at Autism Got Talent each year.

Many of the people in this outstanding community have become firm friends. I was chatting to OJ, one of last year’s acts, on their birthday. OJ is gender-neutral and bravely came out to their family at 14. They are among so many of the friends that have affected my life.

How do you relax? 

Finding time to relax is so important, else you risk burn out. I am well aware of how hard it is for families caring for those living with autism, but if you do not stop and take ten minutes for yourself, you won’t be able to keep going.

Mindfulness can help – it involves acceptance. I pay attention to my thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.

Yoga and going to the gym are two of my favourite escapes. 

“I’m a Celebrity” is on TV – do you watch it?

It is amazing how what we see as escapism can, in fact, educate and do more for causes that we can imagine. Anne Hegerty, the amazing brain from The Chase, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2005. Being on the show last year gave her a platform to explain her life and educate so many on the subject of Aspergers.

We have many LGBTQ performers in Autism Got Talent who are on the spectrum, so this year I am hoping that Caitlyn Jenner will promote Trans education. Diversity on these shows breaks down barriers and alleviates any fears when you come face to face with what is seen as different to the public.

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If you missed Steven’s interview it will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week. www.womensradiostation.com

My Top Tips when your son or daughter is given an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

My Top Tips when your son or daughter is given an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

My Top Tips when your son or daughter is given an Autism spectrum diagnosis.

I remember when both my sons who are now 26 and 29 were diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition. At first it felt like an explosion had gone off in my head and I thought “Did I do something wrong in my pregnancy ?” Afterwards I thought to myself I do not smoke or drink.I did light exercise walking and dance so no I dont think so. I was looking for someone or something to blame which is a natural reaction after been given this information.

 

I just wanted to share with parents that once your son or daughter is given the diagnosis:

  • Let yourself feel everything you feel: Please know it is okay to be mad, sad and angry. You will feel a variety of conflicting emotions. It is even okay to wallow in self-pity a bit. Some parents even go through a short grieving process.
  • Don’t blame yourself: Please don’t blame yourself or your partner . We all do the best we can with the information we are given at the time.
  • Take Charge: Taking charge will make you feel less helpless. Information is power, and there is so much more information now available than when both my sons were diagnosed in 1994 and 1997.
  • Don’t believe everything you are told about autism: You know your child better than any health care professional. And no one should tell you what your child will not be able to do.
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Speak to other parents: Parents who also have an autistic child will often be your best support because they know what you are going through and they are going through it too. You can share strategies.
  • Make time for yourself: I didn’t do this for ten years since I felt guilty and felt I had to put all my energy into fighting for my children and secure them appropriate education even on 3 hours sleep or no sleep. If you burn out you are no good to anyone !

I love my zumba so I have my autism free zone on a Thursday for an hour

Take one day at a time some days good some days not so good.

Never give up hope ?

Anna Kennedy OBE

Who will care for them after I’m gone?

Who will care for them after I’m gone?

I recently shared this post across social media and hundreds of parents of children on the autistic spectrum also commented or shared this post who have this thought and worry at the back of their minds every day. One autistic adult shared that her mother worried about this thought and sadly died now her sister is the person that looks out for her on a weekly basis. 

Anna shared:

‘This is something I always have at the back of my mind when I am working from day to day raising awareness and acceptance: 

A report:by Fitzroy shows ‘Our research shows that families are deeply concerned about the long-term future for their sons and daughters, including the question of responsibility for their welfare after the main family carers have died. ‘One in three parents says that they fear for the future of their children after they are gone.

After a lifetime of struggle to secure appropriate care for their loved ones, and a constant vigil to protect them from abuse and neglect, they have lost trust in the system to provide adequate safeguards when they are no longer there to oversee the process.

One parent says: “It is like a ship heading for an iceberg and nothing happening to change its course.”

‘I am trying to plug every hole so that when I am dead and gone my sons will be looked after with the best path hopefully I have helped create for them . ‘

 Anna Kennedy OBE

The Autism Hero Awards 2019 – winners details!

The Autism Hero Awards 2019 – winners details!

Congratulations to the Autism Hero Awards finalists – please take a look at each of our winners below!

Lifetime Achiever Award: Winner – Tanya Philips

Tanya Philips has battled Autism and Asperger’s all her life, along with being partially sighted and partially deaf, Tanya has been a single mother to two children, one having cerebral palsy, a heart defect and autism.

Tanya having left school with no qualifications now has three degrees a BA (Hons) in Education, a BSc & MSc in Psychology and is now working towards her 3rd Ph.D. on health and social care. Her main focus is identifying prisoners with ASD and designing a framework to rehabilitate those identified to not re-offend.

Tanya was a recent winner of an ERSA Award and a presenter to the Ministry of Justice. Tanya definitely flies the flag for ASD and Asperger’s.

Sponsors: Vie Aesthetics

Sibling of the year: Winner – Seray Marius

Seray Marius has two brothers age 35 and 12 both diagnosed with Autism. Seray was a constant support to her older brother, looking out for him and helping her mum when she became a single mum. She never complained and never treated her brother any different which is why he is so independent today.

When Seray was 21, her mum found out she was pregnant and her youngest brother was not only diagnosed with Autism but had Cerebral Palsy too.

Seray will watch the same film with her brothers over and over again and listen to their constant singing, she will re-arrange work to attend their appointments with her mum and never complains when missing out on important mother daughter time if it has to be cancelled.

Seray’s mum thinks she is one in a million.

Sponsors: Green board Games

Creative Arts and Media Award: Winner – Noah Loo

Noah Loo is only 12 years old, he was diagnosed with Autism age 8.

Noah sees himself as a sensitive and creative person although he suffers with great anxiety. Noah started to draw age 5 when his mum was going through cancer treatment, he drew big characters holding weapons expressing his feelings of protecting his mum.

In 2017 Noah was invited to design the poster for Festival of Autism Swansea, this is an event to celebrate the achievements of those touched by Autism.

He has since held his own art exhibition at various venues. He was commissioned to design the birthday cards for the Award Winning Authentic Chinese Cuisine – Gigi Gao’s Favourite Authentic Chinese restaurant. Noah also won the Young Artist Award by Glynn Vivian Art Gallery 2018.

Sponsors: Training2Care

Personal Achievement Award: Winner – Charlotte Banfield

 

Charlotte Banfield is one of life’s diamonds according to her step father, she was diagnosed with Autism, Cerebral Palsy and has had a heart defect since birth.

Charlotte strives endlessly to be a role model to everyone around her.

Charlotte has bought home World Championship Surfing medals from competing all over the world and more recently a medal from the Abu Dhabi World Games for the GB Basketball team.

Charlotte is about to complete a BSc in Microbiology at the University of Exeter and is only 21 years old. Charlotte is an inspiration.

Sponsors: Options Autism

 

Peoples Autism Hero Award: Winner – Richie Smith

Richie Smith has been nominated for his passion and drive to support individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Richie a year ago had no funding and no support yet he strives to make a difference in a lot of children and adults lives.

He travels around schools in the North East teaching kids with autism that it’s okay to be them! To date he’s helped over 2000 kids and been to over 97 schools. The kids look up to him and can see that autism isn’t life limiting and they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.

He’s such a fantastic role model and inspires people. He had a dream of owning a yellow Maserati car so that others can see how cool it is to have autism, and he has achieved this dream.

Sponsors: Kedleston Group

Parent/Carer Award: Winner – Kenny Elvin

Kenny Elvin lives with his two sons both diagnosed with Autism and his wife who also has disabilities. Kenny works full time leaving the house very early in the morning to complete his job before heading home to help look after his family. He drives his son Macauley all over the country so he can fulfil his dreams of performing or being a charity ambassador.

His son Owen can have meltdowns where the only thing that calms him down is walking around the supermarket holding a basket and this can be at any time of day or night. Kenny gives up his one day a week to drive Macauley from Ipswich to London to attend Pineapple Performing Arts.

When his wife is bed bound Kenny takes over the running of the house and sometimes cooking four different meals for the boys and Michelle. Kenny truly is their Hero and they couldn’t live without him.

Sponsors: Anna Kennedy Online

Top Education Award: Winner – Joel Mellor

Joel Mellor has been nominated by a parent of a young 18-year-old girl who has been home tutored for the last four years due to her anxiety and depression associated with her Autism.

Despite being Head of department and having a young family Joel has never let her down and has been an unstinting source of support and positivity. He understands her needs and has given her the confidence in her ability to succeed.

This young lady has just taken up a place at University studying Criminology and without the support of Joel, she wouldn’t be doing so.Joel really is an Autism Hero in their eyes.

 

Sponsors: Options Autism

Leading Business Award: Winner – Portland College

Portland College has a strong and proven history of supporting people with a wide range of disabilities to realise their full potential. 2012 was the first year where the majority of their learners had autism so they needed to make changes to provide a secure platform where everyone had the opportunity to excel. Portland introduced key roles and appointed qualified and experienced trainers to educate staff to understand Autism and to support the learners in different ways.

In 2019 they applied for Advanced Accreditation, the highest accolade possible, following a process of auditing, assessing and reporting on their quality of provision they achieved it in June 2019. They are 1 of 3 providers in the East Midlands to be awarded and are extremely proud.

Sponsors: Talem Law

Entrepreneurial Award: Winner – Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor over the last 4 years has been working on her own to design and develop a set of cards to help people of all ages understand what it’s like to travel on an aeroplane.

Rebecca has a son with Autism and is an ex British Airways Cabin Crew so she knows first-hand how demanding a flight can be.The set is made up of 7 journey cards that start from arriving at the airport to reaching the destination. The cards are multi-functional and can be used for first time fliers and nervous passengers also. Rebecca now has a digital expert working with her and she is looking open this up to the whole travel industry and other areas such as shopping centres, dental centres and cruise ships.

Sponsors: Born Anxious

Online Social Network Award: Winner – Laura Price

Laura Price is a mum to a young man with Autism. Many parents focus on their own families at stressful, busy times in their lives, not Laura. She set up a social media group on Facebook for Parents of children and young adults with Autism called Spectrum Club in Northamptonshire.

There are over 1700 members now who give each other peer support, share opportunities that are available in the local area and even negotiate autism friendly adjustment sessions for the cinema, swimming and other reduced rate activities.

Laura attends events and keeps members up to date, provides support and is an essential member of the local autism community. Laura is an inspiration.

Sponsors: Recite Me

Special Recognition Award: Winner – Leo Andrade

Stephen Andrade, 23, had been detained 70 miles from Holloway in an assessment and treatment unit (ATU) in Clacton-on-Sea, where he was dosed up on eight different anti-psychotic medications. Leo, Stephen’s mum had been fighting for 6 years for his release, she has been on the radio, appeared on TV and in magazines. Leo has advocated for families all over the country.

Throughout this year Leo has been working with Matt Hancock and his team to make government care plans better and for a better future for all social care. During the Summer Leo organised a protest which was held at different parts of the country, this was to put a stop to children and adults with Autism being stripped of their human rights. Leo has been fighting and highlighting the secrets kept in the UK that happens in Health and Social Care and as long as she has breath in her body she will carry on fighting to speak out and get the truth heard.

Three weeks before Christmas last year Leo’s son Stephen was finally released after Islington Council and NHS England finished adapting a house for him in Hillingdon, where he now receives 24-hour care.Stephen is doing really well his mum can now go and see him every day as he is a lot closer to her now. His carers are really looking after him and is he now getting the life he deserves.

Sponsors: Anna Kennedy Online

Charity Supporter of the year: Winner – Coral Kennedy

The following three finalists were not able to attend the awards.

Each winner’s story was shared and showcased on how they were heroes and making a huge impact in the Autism world… 

Outstanding Community Award:

Winner – Jane Lord

Jane Lord started her charity Buddy’s for Children with Autism due to having no support for her and her children diagnosed with Autism.
The youth groups all adore her as she gives up her time to take them out on trips and organises Lego Therapy, she is a key part of the Autism Community in Manchester and has also spoke in Parliament.

Jane owns a charity shop of which all the volunteers are autistic or have children attend the groups. Jane always puts everyone before herself, driving children to school when the taxi fails to pick them up to babysitting so parents can have respite.

Recently Jane has bought a static caravan where families can go away and enjoy a respite holiday which is kitted out with Autism friendly things and is a fraction of the cost of other holidays.

Sponsors: Living Autism

Young Person of the Year Award:

Winner – Jayden Worthington

Jayden Worthington has been nominated because he is an amazing young man, he works so hard in everything he does and always puts others first.

Jayden has had his own troubles but never puts them on other people yet he is always first to help others.

Jayden has been working with his local CAMHS and giving talks on the work they do, he has also made a documentary for them.

Jayden has transitioned to Sixth Form this year and has coped really well.

Jayden had some devastating news this year when his partner sadly took his own life, even though it is a long road ahead Jayden has been coping well and is taking each day one at a time. Jayden really is an amazing young man.

Sponsors: Supply Desk

Young Person of the Year Award:

Winner – Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith has shown such bravery throughout his school years. It got to a point where Morgan wanted to take his own life due to the extreme bullying which was going on and the school refused to accept it was happening.

His mum had lost count of the amount of times she had to pick him up from the side of the road having tearful panic attacks because of the nasty bullies.

Eventually they left the village they were living in and after a long battle with the LA he got accepted to a new school.

Morgan still suffers with deep rooted anxiety but has not given up his dream to go to University. Morgan helps take care of his mum who is battling a long term illness and is always there for her. Morgan is his mum’s Hero.

Sponsors: Supply Desk

Are you ready for Autism Hero Awards 2020?

You can start nominating now!

Click here for details

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