Dear Friends and Special Academy Supporter,
I am proud to be an Ambassador for Special Academy and my own UK Autism Charity Anna Kennedy Online which is going from strength to strength supporting and sharing information to many families and adults diagnosed with Autism. Ever since I started my own journey with my own boys Patrick and Angelo and wanting to help and support those who like them have a diagnosis of an Autism spectrum condition I am frustrated and disappointed with the lack of facilities and support across the UK and overseas.
Of course, Autism spectrum conditions does not just affect children and teenagers this is a lifelong condition for many people who can often face perplexing problems such as behaviour difficulties and many overlapping conditions such as Dyslexia, Obsessional Compulsive Disorder etc. The facilities are beginning to improve however, with Local Authorities and Charities being hit with cuts it is an ongoing battle.
Families and carers need respite breaks, access to better educational facilities and help with finding employment for their children – it is difficult enough for all young people looking for work these days so having a diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition can makes it even harder, and sadly for many they simply give up trying because of a lack of response and understanding from employers.
I have seen, this directly through my own two sons who are on the spectrum, and through countless encounters and discussions with many young and older people just how much they have to offer. As I said in my book individuals like my sons are ‘Not Stupid’ just different, and often with enormous skills, intelligence and the ability to master many complex tasks and projects.
Therefore, it is so important that all of us who are involved with and diagnosed with autism should continue to fight hard and make our voices heard in improving educational and other resources for individuals, their families and carers. I also know that there is a huge demand for help, support and advice among the growing community of people whose children or loved ones are touched by autism.
Since the launch of Academy of Dreams led by the wonderful Michael Dergar and my own charity we have all seen visits to the sites grow enormously as more people discover what we are about and can offer and contribute their experiences, tips and advice that can help others who are looking for help. I have been truly humbled by the number of emails and letters I receive from people telling me that they have at last found somewhere they can turn to for help and support. You can see my journey further below which includes some amazing experiences that I would love to share with you, I’m so fortunate to have a fantastic team.
As a charity, we work hard provide workshops, training, legal advice and talks across the UK and well as an up to date website and daily apprises on social media. We work tirelessly on annual events such as our legendary showcase of ‘Autism’s Got Talent’ with the main event as well as the various roadshows; we have our successful annual events such as the AKO Autism Expo and the Autism Hero Awards, as well as local events and fundraisers.
We are delighted an official partnership with Includability – The Home of Inclusive Employers. We mirror Includability’s values of ensuring everyone receives an equal opportunity for any job.
Social Media e.g. Facebook and Twitter is such a valuable resource and I have created an autism virtual community of our 70k followers where we share up to date information, tips, advice and success stories where our children and adults have made progress however, small is HUGE to a family with a child on the spectrum.
Our campaigning work is also a big part of our work also targets issues such as autism diagnosis, our autism anti bullying of autistic children Campaign ‘Give us a Break! in schools. Our culture campaign continues and we regularly monitoring the media and Parliament and speaking at events at the House of Commons to find ways of getting our views heard and hopefully putting pressure on those in power to make changes.
I am proud to be patron to DaisyChain, Autism Support Crawley, Kilmarnock Horse Rescue, Cheshire Autism Practical Support, Square Peg Foundation, and an Ambassador for Special Dreams Foundation, Puzzle Centre, Autism Anglia Born Anxious and Includability. Also a committee member of LOANI, Ladies Of All Nations International Group.
Please keep up the great work and lets come together to help raise awareness and acceptance so we can create a springboard to help more individuals with a disability.
All the Best
Anna Kennedy OBE
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