IN AWE OF AUTISM: Acts show off their tal­ents

Fourth an­nual event proves to be a per­fect show­case for acts

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­

HUN­DREDS came to­gether to cel­e­brate the tal­ent of chil­dren and adults with autism.

Autism’s Got Tal­ent 2015, founded by Hilling­don’s Anna Kennedy OBE, was a roar­ing suc­cess for the fourth year run­ning.

The show­case fea­tured a va­ri­ety of 20 acts, from opera singers to bands and dancers, from a range of ages be­tween eight and early thir­ties.

Mrs Kennedy, who set up Hilling­don Manor School, which pro­vides spe­cial­ist ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port to pupils with an autis­tic spec­trum con­di­tion, saw the pos­i­tive im­pact the show brought to all those in­volved.

She said: “So many of the acts just didn’t want to go home, they were hav­ing so much fun. It gives them the spring­board to think I can re­ally do this.”

Many chil­dren and adults with autism ex­pe­ri­enced bul­ly­ing and turned to the per­form­ing arts to get through their or­deal.

The mother-of-two added: “They have an in­de­pen­dent life and qual­ity of life and this event show­cases what they can do.

“They’re not sec­ond class cit­i­zens.”

The foyer of the venue, The Mer­maid Theatre, in Lon­don, was decked out in art­work ‘al­most as if you walk through the mind of a per­son with autism as you walk through the door’.

Celebri­ties who at­tended in­cluded Jake Wood from EastEn­ders and Mrs Kennedy’s dance part­ner on BBC’s The Peo­ple’s Strictly, Robin Wind­sor.

The show­case took place on Satur­day, May 9 and hopes to run again next year.

Nom­i­na­tions are now open for ‘ Wear It For Autism’, with a new cat­e­gory for teach­ers and teach­ing as­sis­tants.

Wear It For Autism is look­ing for mums, dads, grand­par­ents, chil­dren and car­ers – who ei­ther have autism them­selves or care for those living with the con­di­tion – to have a full makeover and take cen­trestage in a stylish fash­ion event in Lon­don. The closing date to nom­i­nate a loved one is June 20, 2015.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit an­nakennedy­on­line. com.

TAL­ENT: Show founder Anna Kennedy with acts Lau­ren Love­joy and Strictly star Robin Wind­sor

n FUN DAY: (Above and right) Per­form­ers at Autism’s Got Tal­ent 2015

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