Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity
Our Young Patrons supporting Children’s Mental Health Week 2024

Our Young Patrons supporting Children’s Mental Health Week 2024

Our Young Patrons supporting Children’s Mental Health Week 2024

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and the theme is  ”Growing Together“.

Growing Together is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow. Challenges and setbacks can help us to grow and adapt and trying new things can help us to move beyond our comfort zone into a new realm of possibility and potential.
However, emotional growth is often a gradual process that happens over time, and sometimes we might feel a bit ‘stuck’.

We are fortunate to have a diverse and talented group of Young Patrons who help to raise Autism Awareness and are passionate to change the perceptions on Autism. We cannot do this alone and this is why our incredible Young Patrons are so important and fantastic role models. 
Click here to find out more about our young patrons who are helping us spread the word who are passionate about helping with our mission.

Please see below quotes shared by our young patrons in support of this year’s theme: “Growing Together” for Children’s Mental Health Week 2024

OJ Bridges 

OJ Bridges 

OJ Bridges

“The only superpower you need is to be your most authentic self” 

Logan Richards

Logan Richards

Logan Richards

“I water you, You water me, We water together”

Daisy Hutchinson

Daisy Hutchinson

Daisy Hutchinson

Callum Kirrage

Callum Kirrage

Callum Kirrage

“Be who you want to be and believe in yourself “

Jack Azagury-Slattery

Jack Azagury-Slattery

Jack Azagury-Slattery

Josh Burgess

Josh Burgess

Josh Burgess

“One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else’s survival guide”

T’mya Fyffe

T'mya Fyffe

T’mya Fyffe

“T’mya has had such a hard couple of months, she has struggled massively with her Mental Health and is now starting to turn a corner. She is starting to get back into things and has started online school and at an equine college. The horse in the photo is her loan horse, she cares for him and rides him every day, he is like a therapy to her!”

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio Station was Helen Eaton

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio Station was Helen Eaton

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Helen Eaton

Annas guest at Women’s Radio was Helen Eaton ​
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

Helen Eaton is the author of the Arna & Ruby Autism graphic novels, has a mini-series of podcasts on neurodiversity, and gives talks and training on autism to families, schools, charities, and workplaces.

She has a post graduate qualification in primary education, which helps her understand what’s going on in our schools.

Alongside her autism work she still delivers leadership training for some of UK’s leading technology, finance, and retail companies.

After running her own training business for the past 20 years and specialising in behaviour, communication, and emotional intelligence, it seemed a natural shift to focus on autism 5 years ago. 

Helen Eaton
Helen Eaton

Combining her two passions means that she is also a Neurodiversity at Work specialist, helping companies better understand and support their neurodiverse employees.

She does have an amazingly neurodiverse family and doesn’t think in a typical way herself.  She most definitely has lived experience when she talks about autism.

Within her home Helen has experienced the joys that autistic thinking brings and describes her 3 teenagers as funny, loving, kind, quirky and bright. She knows the challenges autism brings though, spending long hours and many years battling for an appropriate education and support for her diagnosed teen.

She also understands the anxiety, frustration, and anger that autistic children experience as they struggle to cope with a world that isn’t very autism friendly.

There are a few dents in her walls and doors!

She believes in honesty, openness, and positivity when it comes to talking about autism.

Working with schools has shown her that far too often they rely on out-dated lists of things that autistic people supposedly can’t do.

Instead, schools should focus on what each child can do and find ways to enable them to feel safe, communicate and be able to learn.

Each month she offers one free talk on Autism in the Classroom, along with a series of live training sessions on Zoom.

These can be booked online at www.heleneaton.co.uk.

She can also be found on Twitter @HelenEatonASC and on Facebook Helen Eaton – Autism & Neurodiversity

Helen Eaton
Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon from Autism Together

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon from Autism Together

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon from Autism Together

Anna’s guest at Women’s Radio was Michelle Seddon.
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

It was a pleasure to chat to Anna, it was my first radio interview and I’ll admit to being more than a little nervous. But Anna put me at ease straight away and the time flew by so fast I realised I hadn’t said half the things I’d planned to! I thought it might also be useful to recap some of the points we talked about as well as give you a bit more information about Autism Together.

Autism Together is a registered charity, formed in 1968 when a group of parents established The Wirral Society for Autistic Children, which later became Autism Together. So, we have been going for over 50 years- I think our values come for those early parents. One of the first parents- Mr John Brady refused to pay his rates as he felt his son was being failed by the local council.

He was threatened with a prison sentence and his appeal made it all the way to the house of commons – apparently the first time Autism has been mentioned there!  He banded together a group of parents who felt the same founding the Wirral society for Autistic children.

The raised funds to buy and refit Raby hall- this took over 10 years but in 1977 Raby Hall opened its doors to 6 people. John passed away in 2006, His Son Shaun who lived with us until his death in 2020 had lived a very happy life on Raby site for 43 years, the incredible legacy left by John and those early pioneering parents.

In 1980 we went through a name change as the individuals living with us were no longer children. We changed to Wirral Autistic Society and even through we’ve changed our name again in 2015 to Autism Together people still often refer to us as WAS. A specialist provider, we provided a huge range of services from Residential care homes, respite through to Supported living, domiciliary care, day services, work opportunities, right through to family support and play and youth groups and training.

https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/

What do we do?

We still have Raby hall, its gone through many refits over the years, as Raby Hall is set on large beautiful grounds, we were able to build a number of residential services, our respite service and our Kitchen Garden and farm day services are all based here. We have also set us services in the local community in Bromborough and as far afield as Wrexham.

We support around 400 people and employ around 1000 staff.  We can also provide training and support to families and others; we have provided some training for local police and fire brigade as well as working with football clubs and community champions.

We also help to run the river park in collaboration with Land Trust. Opening in 2014 it’s a closed landfill site that’s been transformed into a 28-hectare park with walks, wildlife and wetland areas and spectacular views of the river greatly appreciate by the local community. We are currently raising funds for a defib We have also been fundraising to get a defibrillator installed at our Port Sunlight River Park site: www.aeddonate.org.uk/projects/autism-together/

I look after our residential services, we have 20 registered care homes, and I’m supported by an experienced knowledgeable and all-around amazing team of 7 registered mangers, whose efforts over the past 20 months have been nothing short of super human!

At Autism Together our philosophy remains firmly rooted in a belief that:

  • We begin with what people can do, not with what they can’t do, by listening to each individual and acknowledging that they are the expert in their autism.
  • Our support begins with the person, along with a shared understanding of what is important to them and what their strengths and needs are.
  • Our support approaches are individualised so that staff can meet each person’s communication needs.

Adopting Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) accredited by Bild (British Institute of learning Disabilities) back in 2018, this model fitted so well with our existing values and has given us a clear framework to follow when supporting people.

How can you help us?

We have a charity abseil planned for 26th September Batron Square Trafford centre Manchester, you can opt to Abseil yourself or sponsor someone who’s’ already signed up for the challenge. I completed an Abseil down Liverpool cathedral back in 2018! Terrified didn’t even come close! But we supported each other and went over the top like pro’s, Cried and screamed our way down! But we did it! Funds raised from the Abseil will go towards additional services and equipment for the people we support.

SMILE amazon

We also have an online eBay shop where the people we support are able to sell their amazing products, you’ll find a lot of unique items here. https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/autismtogether

Our Amazon wish list has items that the people we support, and their staff have picked- lots of low-cost high impact things to pick here, as well as some larger wish list items.

This has really helped our guys through the various lockdowns.

You can also add us on SMILE amazon- basically this means every time you make a purchase through Amazon they donate on your behalf- even if you don’t pick Autism Together, please do this for a charity that’s local to you.

It doesn’t cost you a penny and charities like ours can really benefit from it. Details here https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/donate/   as well as some other ways to donate.

On a final note,

The past few years have been incredibly hard on everyone, throwing up challenges and frustrations in equal measure. I’d like to end with a huge thank you to our staff teams across all our services who have been simply outstanding. Their commitment passion and dedication has been inspiring.

They arrived everyday not knowing what they may face while carrying the burden of their own worries and fears, supporting people to manage impossible situations and being creative with their solutions. Adapting and rising to every single challenge and hurdle. You are all amazing!

Thank you, Anna, for the opportunity to talk about Autism Together.

Take care of yourselves out there, and if you’ve able to, remember to take care of each other too.

Michelle

Anna’s guest this week on Women’s Radio was Greg Smith

Anna’s guest this week on Women’s Radio was Greg Smith

Anna’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ was Greg Smith

Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on Women’s Radio Station was Greg Smith .
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

Greg shared:

My name is Greg Smith I am 25 years old and am from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

My story started when I attended a mainstream primary school in Bury St Edmunds, thinking I was fine, not old enough to know that I had already been diagnosed with ASD. I had friends and teachers that understood me and had a happy time there.

Next, I was lucky enough to attend Priory school in Bury- which is a school for children with mild to moderate learning difficulties. It taught me how to be more independent and confident which prepared me for life in the bigger outside world. I completed my education and achieved 8 Entry Level and one GCSE qualifications.

Greg Smith at Harry Specters

I currently work as a production worker for a Social Enterprise company called Harry Specters in Ely, Cambridgeshire which is very well renowned for its high-quality chocolates and employs people with autism, giving them the opportunity of working in paid employment.

I have been working at Harry Specters for over 3 years as an assistant chocolatier.

It has changed my life hugely as a person as I am now financially independent and the Shahs have inspired me to do other things such as spreading the word about living with Autism and promoting equality rights for people of minority groups, including people with Autism.

Listening to Mona Shah on the radio has inspired me to try and follow in her footsteps in promoting the autistic community as a valuable part of a workforce.

Autistic skills such as following rules, planning and sticking to timescales, make people with autism effective and valuable members of a workforce.

After finishing college, I spent over a year applying for a range of jobs such as Warehouse work and working at the Royal Mail, jobs that I could have done very well if I was given the chance.

Unfortunately, the interview process was very difficult for me as the questions were usually too complicated and confusing. I believe there needs to be more understanding by employers when interviewing people with disabilities.

On weekends I am a karting driver who competes in the Club 100 Lightweight Sprint Championships at tracks around the UK where many British F1 drivers started their careers.

I drive myself to these events as I passed my driving test in 2016 after a lot of hard work, which has really helped with my independence.

I completed my first year with Club 100 and last December I won the Lightweight Sprint Class 3 Championship.

I entered my 2nd year with them as a Lightweight Sprint Class 2 driver for 2021. I believe that my Autism has made me a better driver, as I take my time to study track layouts and plan timings and tactics to get the best out of myself.

On my crash helmet, I proudly carry the Autism Awareness ribbon to help drivers that I compete against understand who I am and why I was diagnosed with Autism as a child.

Greg Smith Helmet for Autism Awareness
Women’s Radio Greg Smith

Also, during 2020 in the pandemic crisis, I have met some amazing people from an owner karting team called AIM (Autism In Motorsports) who have some very talented drivers. Their aim is to bring in and inspire young people with autism into the world of motorsport to see if it is the right competitive sport for them.

I want to help inspire people with autism that no matter what barriers that hold you down, you can still get past those walls and make it into highly competitive sporting environments such as karting and make a very successful career out of it to help gain improved normality in society and most of all, equality.

Doing an interview on Women’s radio station is an important way for me to speak up for myself and the autistic community. Speaking to Anna Kennedy OBE was a huge honour and a privilege.

What keeps me positive is my racing, working with Harry Specters and now, trying to promote a positive message about living with Autism.

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 7th August 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.

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Tag: Autism