Anna Kennedy is one of the most impressive and intelligent people I have ever had the privilege to interview. She has now written her amazing story into a great book that I urge you to buy, read and pass onto anyone who is raising a child with special needs. Anna is beacon of stamina and determination to us all. All the details are below.
Not Stupid: New Book By The Mother Of Two Autistic Children
NOT STUPID Anna Kennedy, John Blake Publishing 6th February “I was unable to concentrate on anything being discussed because I was thinking, Christ both my boys have autism. This is terrible. What have I done wrong? I’d been looking forward to a more relaxed way of life than my own regimented childhood and of things like days on the beach with my kids but now all my aspirations seemed like a distant memory.”
When Anna and Sean Kennedy discovered that their boy Patrick had Asperger Syndrome and Angelo was autistic, they were truly devastated but the diagnosis was just the beginning of their problems
…Placed in mainstream nurseries and schools, Patrick and Angelo endured traumatic experiences in a system woefully equipped to cater for their complex needs. Turned down by 26 special needs schools Anna was determined that her children should have the education they deserved.
So she and her husband, Sean, decided upon a course of action that most people would never even contemplate: founding a special school dedicated to the care and education of young people with various forms of autism.
Anna re-mortgaged her own house and begged, borrowed, persuaded and cajoled individuals, local councillors, companies, charities and the media until Hillingdon Council let her have disused school premises. All this while coping with the inevitable dramas of a family with two autistic children (and the realisation, confirmed in 2003, that her husband Sean also diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome).
Hillingdon Manor is now a Centre of Excellence and provides education for 85 children from the age of three and a half to nineteen and Anna has also helped set up the West London Community College to provide further education and the Old Vicarage Residence where autistic adults can live with the support of staff.
“Anna’s story is a remarkable testament to the fact that one woman can make a difference, if that woman is Anna Kennedy” Esther Rantzen