The Academy of Special Dreams is honored to welcome Anna Kennedy, our first overseas Community Ambassador based in London, England. Anna, a determined and passionate mother of two children with autism spectrum condition, has led the way in transforming the education and lives of those who suffer from this hugely challenging and frustrating condition.
In 1999, Anna, as the mother of two boys, Patrick and Angelo, one with Autism and the other Asperger syndrome, simply wanted the best education for her sons, but after being refused entry by a staggering 26 special needs schools she decided to take matters into her own hands and started her own very special place of education. Ten years on she has transformed the lives of literally hundreds of children with Autism and Asperger syndrome by setting a new course in education and support for those with these special needs.
In 1999 she and her husband felt so passionately about providing better education for children with Autism and Asperger that they remortgaged their home and transformed a derelict council building in Middlesex, West London into Hillingdon Manor School. The school, which is now a center of excellence, has earned considerable recognition for its outstanding work. Over the last decade Hillingdon Manor has thrived and in 2010 will educate 150 children from 3 to 19 years with plans to expand to accommodate an increasing number of parents who are looking for a positive and supportive environment for their intelligent but different offspring. Hillingdon Manor has gone from strength to strength and is now the largest school of its kind in the UK.
Since 1999 Anna’s work has expanded considerably and she has opened a number of new facilities. In 2008 she merged her school with Hillcrest Autism Services to gain access to greater resources to continue her work. She and Hillcrest have also expanded their work to provide education for adults with Autism and Asperger syndrome and opened the West London Community College, which also has a residential home attached for students attending the educational establishment.
This September Anna is delighted to be opening Baston House School in Bromley, Kent which is working towards accommodating 150 children from 3 to 19 years of age. Formerly an independent girls school, the new special needs unit will provide a center of excellence in education and development for children who have been diagnosed with autism. The new school is expected to be very popular from Day One as there are few resources in Kent that can cope with the special education needs of Autism and Asperger Syndrome. For parents of children with these conditions life can be a constant struggle to try and get their sons and daughters to live normal lives or communicate and integrate with family and friends.
Baston House School will provide welcome relief and a real breakthrough for these children and help them to lead more fulfilled and productive lives. The school will be a unique provision for children on the Autism Spectrum and will offer an eclectic approach to a number of strategies, taking the best of a myriad of techniques and resources that have been developed worldwide over many years. All of the schools under the Hillcrest approach are able to offer personalized teaching and learning within an Autistic-specific environment, so that pupils’ individual needs can be addressed in full, and their capabilities fully realized. As a result the children can develop into independent, participative and contributing members of society.
With the instance of Autism growing alarmingly in Britain the special schools provided by Anna and Hillcrest have never been so much needed and it should be hoped that more and more of these facilities are made available to children and their families to help them fulfill their potential. Of course the educational and life supporting needs don’t stop at school leaving age and Anna and Hillcrest are now leading the way in providing lifelong support for those with Autism and Asperger syndrome.
If you would like to find out more about Anna Kennedy or any of the Hillcrest special schools please contact: http://www.annakennedyonline.com/
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