Anna Kennedy

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Anna Kennedy
Born (1960-03-12) 12 March 1960 (age 59)
Occupationspecial education promoter

Anna Kennedy (born 12 March 1960) is an educator who has worked to provide an improved education and other facilities for children with autism spectrum disorders. In pursuing support for these children, she has established two schools, a college, a respite home and a website with over 50,000 international followers. [1]

Kennedy was appointed an OBE (Royal Reward for Inspirational Mother) Award by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2012 for her services.[2] Kennedy is the special education correspondent of the psychology website Psychreg.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Middlesbrough to Maria and Antonino Sammarone, she studied at Sacred Heart School Middlesbrough. Before leaving for Italy, she had set up a dance school, which was owned and run by her for a number of years. She married Sean Kennedy, a qualified legal solicitor, in 1998.[4] They had two sons, Patrick and Angelo;[5] when the boys reached school age, Kennedy then discovered that they were affected with autism spectrum disorders.

Turn in Anna's Life[edit]

It was difficult for Anna and Sean to find a suitable education for their eight-year-old, affected by Asperger Syndrome and five-year-old with autism; they started a support group in their home, which grew rapidly and was joined by 275 families.[5] They remortgaged their house in order to raise funds to open a school with special educational needs for their children.[6]

Hillingdon Manor School[edit]

Anna and her husband prepared a feasibility report to convert a local school, which was apparently due to be demolished, into a school for special needs children.[7] This school was a place to play and laugh together in the playground for pupils who had been bullied.[8] At that time, they took a huge financial risk by using their savings of £3000 and mortgaging their house in order to raise £627,000.[9] Volunteers were also coming out to help them, including carpenters, electricians and painters. Anna also approached the Probation Service for volunteers to come and help. Hillingdon Manor School for autistic children opened in 1999, with only 19 pupils.[7] Initially, this school had places for 14 children, later increased to 63 places by 2002. The funding for places by the local authority was based upon the condition that parents of autistic children select this school as a suitable place for their special childrens' needs.[6] This school is now building a brighter future with safe and structured education for 150 special children.[10] The school was subject to an emergency Ofsted report in January 2017, the report for which was published in March. The inspection found that the school did not meet all of the independent school standards that were examined during the inspection.[11] Deficiencies found included out-of-date "safeguarding policy documents", an insufficiently robust approach to "safer recruitment", including "prohibition orders" and vetting, lacked a "written risk assessment policy", and its "health and safety policy" was sparse, and in need of updating, referring to the "new government" of 2010, among other faults. The report also stated, "The school is a safe and secure learning environment and pupils behave well. There are high ratios of staff to pupils and leaders have ensured that staff members are deployed effectively."

Baston House School[edit]

The former Prime Minister's wife, Samantha Cameron, was invited to the official opening of a Specialist School set up by Anna Kennedy in Kent, South East London.[12] [13]

Anna Kennedy Online[edit]

She has more than 50,000 online followers through her website including the parents of autistic children, professionals, media and those who are concerned with Autism. She is constantly creating awareness about Autism and making efforts to raise funds in order to continue their work.[14]

Training[edit]

Anna also provides training for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)[15] and Child line with regards to the disability bullying issue and create awareness about autism all over the UK.[16]

Book - Not Stupid[edit]

In 2009, Anna wrote a book named, Not Stupid which was about the struggle she had to set up the school for her kids.[17] Based on the story of a mother who fights to rescue the lives of her children from autism[18] this bestselling biography is available on Amazon.[19]

Groundbreaking Project[edit]

A fitness DVD, 'Step in The Right Direction' was a groundbreaking project which features a dance DVD, offering a clear picture of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). It has been launched in Birmingham at the British Institute of Learning Disabilities Conference.[20]

Daisy Chain Charity[edit]

Anna accepted a role as Patron in a bid to boost the profile of a charity called the Daisy Chain Charity which helps support families with autistic children. She has visited Calf Fallow farm, the home of Daisy Chain, to meet staff and see for herself the work being done there.

"This is really very good, I am very impressed," she said afterwards. The space available here is fantastic and just what is needed as we move forward and develop the services Daisy Chain provides. I am really excited about coming on board at this stage of development."

Autism Got Talent[edit]

It was the first talent show organised by Anna on 12 May 2012. In this show, children and adults with autism performed on the stage at London's Mermaid Theatre.[21] A performance from James Hobley, an autistic dancer was also included in this show who had appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

Survey[edit]

On World Autism Day 2013, a new survey on autistic children's experiences was taken. The survey reported that 74% of parents of autistic children stated that their children found it difficult to be social, or even experienced fear at breaks or lunch times in schools and colleges.[22] However, 67% of Asperger's children reported that during lunch times they were taunted and bullied by others.[22]

Campaign[edit]

During Autism Awareness Month in April 2013, ABA and Anna launched their 'Give Us a Break' campaign.[23] This campaign aimed to raise awareness about the bullying of autistic children in school and colleges, particularly during break times, highlighted the need for autistic children to feel safe by providing them opportunities to indulge in positive activities and to encourage schools and colleges to share the ways they can improve their social skills and keep them safe too.[24]

Addressed issues faced by Autistic Children[edit]

Anna Kennedy addressed the issues and tackled them which were faced by autistic children. She highlighted the activities that can keep children from bullying during lunch times. She also emphasised that there should be a strong communication between the parents and school which comes up with a 24-hour curriculum for the children in order to get a better idea about their behaviour all day and to prevent them getting mixed messages by parents and teachers.[25]

Achievements[edit]

In 2001, Anna also set up a community college for adults, a respite home in 2004 and a second specialist school in Bromley, Kent. This was inaugurated by Samantha Cameron.[7]

Awards[edit]

Anna has been awarded by an OBE (Royal Reward for Inspirational Mother) in the Queen's Birthday Honors by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace [26] for her services and campaigning work for autistic children. She won an award named, 'Woman of the Year' in 2009 which runs with the collaboration of The Observer and Smooth Radio. Anna has been the recipient of the coveted Institute of Directors (IOD) Chairman's special award for her contributions to the community.[27] She is the “Achieving Mum of the Year” of Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2013 for her campaigning work for autistic children.[28] She is an ambassador for the Outcomes First Group.[29]

Media[edit]

Anna's story has been published in various magazines and newspapers including The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, etc. Her story was appeared as 'pick of the day' an hour long Video Diary Documentary on BBC.[30]

Interviews[edit]

Samantha Cameron hosted a show, where there were the five finalists of the Daily Mail's inspirational Woman of the Year Awards. Anna has been interviewed by her, in which she highlighted the facts about her children and struggle throughout the life for brightening her kids' future.[31] Anna Kennedy had one-on-one interview with David Cameron where he discussed about Autistic provision plans for Special Educational Needs (SEN) by the Government.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Autism School by Mum of the year award winner Anna Kennedy". Tesco Magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "Anna Awarded by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace". ITV (TV network). Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ "Dr Anna Kennedy OBE". Psychreg. Psychreg. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Anna Married to Sean Kennedy". Daily Mail. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Autism support group". Tesco Magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ a b "Anna mortgaged her house to open the school". BBC. 1999-01-05. Retrieved 2016-09-26. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ a b c "School for special needs children". Tesco Magazine. Retrieved 2016-09-26. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "School for Autistic Children". Daily Mail. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ "Anna sets up her own school". Daily Mail. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "150 Special children in school". Tesco Magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ "Hillingdon Manor School". reports.ofsted.gov.uk. 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  12. ^ "Anna Kennedy: Raising autistic children is demanding". Metro UK. April 24, 2012. Samantha Cameron officially opened Anna’s second school in Bromley, Kent
  13. ^ "Samantha Cameron opens new school set up by Middlesbrough mum". Gazette. June 15, 2011. …It was great to have Samantha at Baston House.
  14. ^ "Anna's 50,000 online followers". Net Mums. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ "National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Training by Anna". Media Planet. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "Autism awareness campaign". Tesco Magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ "Not Stupid by Anna". John Blake. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  18. ^ "Biography of Anna Kennedy". John Blake. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  19. ^ "Anna Kennedy's Biography at Amazon". John Blake. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  20. ^ "Dance DVD by Anna Kennedy to help kids effected with Autism". Special Needs Jungle. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ "Talent Show Organized by Anna". Tesco Magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  22. ^ a b "Survey reports about Autistic Children". ITV. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  23. ^ "Give Us a Break campaign". ITV. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  24. ^ "Campaigns for Autistic Children by Anna". Anti-Bullying Alliance. Archived from the original on 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2014-02-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  25. ^ "Issues faced by Anna". Media Planet. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  26. ^ "Royal Reward for Inspirational Mother by Queen Elizabeth II". Baston house school. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  27. ^ "Chairman's special award". Baston house school. Archived from the original on 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2014-02-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  28. ^ "Achieving Mum of the year". Tesco Magazine. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  29. ^ "Inclusive Festival to raise autism awareness in Scunthorpe". Lincolnshire Today. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Anna's Documentary on BBC". Baston house school. Archived from the original on 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2014-02-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  31. ^ "Interview of five finalists of Daily Mail". Daily Mail. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  32. ^ "Interview with David Cameron". Senmaganize. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)