Autism show – April 2022
This month is Autism Awareness Month and this month’s autism show highlighted autism awareness month and looked back on World Autism Day which was on 2nd April.
Aston and regular contributor Anna Kennedy OBE spoke all things autism in Essex including looking at what autism charity Annakennedyonline have got lined this year, along with news within the autism community and speaking to great guests.
The first guest Aston and Anna spoke to was TV personality and campaigner Kelly Waite BCA.
The second guests Aston and Anna spoke to was Michael & Paul Atwal-Brice.
Anna had this to say after the show:
“Another great show talking ‘All things Autism in Essex’ Aston and I had lots to talk about and information to share. We had once again fantastic guests sharing their experiences of living and working in the field of autism.
Our first guest was the lovely Kelly Waite BCA who I met at the CHABS UK fashion show at the launch of Harvey Prices Black and Gold Range with Born Anxious.
‘Kelly shared she was one of the TV personalities that appears in the hit channel 4 TV Shows Obsessive compulsive cleaners and Country House cleaners She is also an Award-winning Ambassador winning a British citizen medal and most inspirational woman award both in 2017 . She won an Invisible Hero award in 2017.Kelly is an Ambassador for an African children’s charity ‘The Dream Foundation of Uganda’ , ‘bullies out ‘ an anti-bullying charity , ‘Worth Living mental health’ charity and a Manager of celebrity football team charity ” Supporting charities FC”
Kelly also personally gives donations within her community throughout the year giving to food banks, salvation army, women and children’s shelters, elderly and the homeless.She has also helped to transform her community with painting fences, cutting grasses, litter picking, fly tipping removal, crime and anti-social behaviour prevention. ,neighbourhood meetings, donating community flower tubs helping neighbours with their gardens.
I do everything myself I’m also a multi award film maker fir my 2 She created a short film about mental health called ‘the voice within’ and’ Trepidation 19′ . One short film is about OCD and suicide and the other was filmed during the first lockdown and is about the struggles of being in lockdown alone.
Kelly suffers from auto immune illness ‘Hashimotos’ severe OCD/extreme anxiety and she has a diagnosis of Asperger’s , ME and fibromyalgia. I recently had half my thyroid removed due to pre cancer cells. It hasn’t been easy these past 2 years coping with lockdown alone and covid etc’.
Our second guests were the Atwal-Brice family. Again, I met this lovely family at the fashion show March 12th and at Madame Tussauds for World Autism Day.
Michael and Paul shared:
‘We are the Atwal -Brice Family !
Michael, Paul, Levi, Lucas, Lotan, and Lance. While our family has two sets of identical twin boys, we are unlike any family you have met before. Our home is full of laughter and love, but as an LGBTQIA+ family who lives in South Yorkshire with two boys with diagnosed autism and epilepsy, our journey to today has been quite different to most.
We have a unique take on diversity, inclusion, accessibility and disability and we have lived experience of being foster parents too! Our mission is to use our platform to celebrate our boys Levi and Lucas, who are diagnosed with Autism and Epilepsy amongst other disabilities. Over their lifetime, we’ve built up a vast network of friends from the third and media sectors, and we’re officially ambassadors for Caudwell Children’s charity and AFK. Our roles use our platforms and uniquely creative content to celebrate charity work that directly helps disabled children across the U.K.
In 2020, we led a successful UK wide campaign that highlighted the need for better inclusive play equipment in local parks. Allowing children like Levi and Lucas to enjoy recreational activities with their peers. This campaign received incredible coverage both on both BBC news, and radio 5 live. Along with other regional coverage. The campaign led to an award from children’s charity AFK-Working with disabilities, where we won the Best Disability Campaign of 2020.
In our media working life, we have appeared on various television programs including the highest ever rated, ‘Shop Well for less’, on BBC ONE. This program aired in December and was RDF televisions Christmas special. It broke down many television barriers and featured our family to get the Nation talking about same-sex families, adoption, fostering and disability. The show and the program itself were well-received nationally, and we regularly still get complimented about our media portrayal. As well as this, people comment how wonderful it is to see inclusion and diversity represented on TV.
We are often invited to talk on national tv and radio openly and honestly discussing topics that include epilepsy, autism, same-sex parenting, adoption and fostering, and we take part in promotional videos for charities and organisations too. To date, we have worked with the National Autistic Society, The Fostering Network, Epilepsy Action and Caudwell Children’s charity, to name a few.
Paul has always had a passion for performing and he’s worked in stage entertainment and productions, touring the world for the hit production Spirit of the Dance. He still performs to this day in Pantomime and other commercial work, and he very much enjoyed his time travelling Europe, Asia, and the USA. Paul has performed in many shows over the years, but his life as a father and partner comes first, and he settled down with Michael almost twenty years ago.
Our focus now is on breaking down boundaries for people with disabilities. We do this while working hard to promote equal rights. As charity ambassadors and philanthropists, we work tirelessly to improve the lives of children and adults living with disabilities in the U.K and we are passionate about motivational, positive speeches and talks on the subject at charity AGMs and charity Balls and galas.
Back in 2014, we spearheaded the campaign that challenged the government to provide equal rights to marriage for all couples. This campaign was successful and we’re incredibly proud to say that now all couples, regardless of sexuality, have the right to marry in the U.K. From this campaign we appeared on BBC News, ITV Evening News and ITV’s morning show Daybreak. Where we talked about the issues we had faced, the challenges to come, and why we were so dedicated to campaigning. This story was featured in the Mirror, guardian and Gay Times magazine.
We challenged the NHS and worked closely with NICE to make medical cannabis-based treatments available for people suffering the most complex and painful conditions. We appeared on ITV’s Good a Morning Britain the day Cannabis-based treatment become legal in the U.K and we campaign to this day for better access to treatments that could vastly improve the individual’s quality of life, including our own two boys Levi and Lucas
Working closely with many charities, including AFK ‘Working, with Disabilities’, Caudwell Children’s Charity, Variety The children’s Charity, Epilepsy Action, The National Autistic Society, The Fostering Network and Adoption U.K. We provide speeches and talks at large events and galas. We support their national campaigns, signposting other parents to access help, and we also sit on many committees and advisory boards.
Paul was honoured with a British Citizens award in 2019 at the Houses of Parliament Westminster, honouring over two decades of work within the charitable sector and he was given the title BCAc. We have also been shortlisted and Finalists at The Yorkshire Choice awards, and National Diversity Awards. In 2021 we received the Fostering Networks Fostering Excellence President Award, Which we won for almost two decades of charitable work promoting LGBTQIA+ Fostering. We often front LGBTQIA+ fostering week and have featured in many national campaigns to promote this too.
As a family, as partners, as dads, and as people, we aim to carry on making the world more accessible and inclusive. Our life’s work is to dedicate the platform that we have, to amplify the voices that need to be heard. We want to live in a world open to everyone, and we see ability before Disability.’
As you can see both Aston and I had a busy show and we are looking forward to chatting to you all again in May. Don’t forget to check out the charity website for all our updates www.annakennedyonline.com
Happy Easter everyone and take care x”
All Things Autism in Essex will return in May.
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