Recently I was approached by Fightland, Vice's martial arts website to talk about my views and experiences within martial arts. Particularly about the impact autism and ADHD have on my sport - what can be helpful and what can create more challenges.
It was tough to do at a time where I have just been diagnosed with ADHD and so therefore am still learning about what it means and how it affects me. Being diagnosed late as an adult is like being told the answers to a test paper, it is like that "ohhhhhh, that's it why didn't I get that sooner?". In any circumstance I feel I gave an accurate representation of how I experience martial arts.
Click here to read the interview.
It was Anti-Bullying Week from the 18-22 November and to promote Anna Kennedy Online's Give Us A Break campaign I wrote a short article about bullying for the Anna Kennedy Online website.
Please click here to view the article
Alternatively view my blog post re Anti-Bullying Week
Anna Kennedy Online took their hit show Autism's Got Talent on the road to Bromley, Kent at Baston House School.
Here I gave a speech about some of my experiences growing up and this was quite emotional for me. Anna Kennedy has asked me to give this speech at the House of Commons in December.
As usual the show was epic with brilliant performances from all involved.
For a write up about this event please click here
I have recently been in to a couple of schools to deliver school assemblies. First I went to Denfield Primary where not only did I give an assembly but also was able to spend time with the children in the ASD unit. I took some of my medals in to show the children and they were keen to show me their brain gym exercise and ask some questions. I also showed them a couple of moves and how I warm up for a fight and finished off by showing them a video of some of my fight highlights and asking them what their dream or goal was. One young girl who was the only girl in the unit told me that when she was older she wanted to like me and this has really stuck with me, that my visit could be so powerful to her.
I also visited a year 10 class at Manor School in Raunds. Here the pupils asked me a range of questions about my kickboxing experiences. I also had some questions to ask them about their achievements and their aims for the future. I really enjoyed speaking to them and finding out about what they wanted to achieve. It was also important to me to encourage them to celebrate their own personal achievements no matter how small they might have seemed and I was so pleased when a boy with Asperger's told me he had achieved something great that day by sitting his maths test without panicking and getting wound up as was usual for him. A great achievement for him.
Finally I visited Friars School in Wellingborough, headed by one of my old PE teachers. I was probably the last person she might have expected to become a kickboxing world champion but there I was. I gave an assembly to the pupils there complete with video and showed them different equipment I used to fight in. After the assembly I stayed to spend some time with some of the pupils and it proved to be yet another enjoyable experience.
On the 25th June I was invited to accompany Anna Kennedy to the Positive Image campaign celebrating Women in Sport at the House of Commons. This event and campaign was brought together by the inspiring Kate Hardcastle who met Anna Kennedy at the Tesco Mum of the Year awards 2013.
My experience at the House of Commons was great, I had never been here before and we were taken on a tour by MP Gerry Sutcliffe. I was able to meet some great people including Tina Boden and later in the evening we were joined by Victoria Pendleton, who was really impressed with my kickboxing medals.
For some time I have wanted to help raise awareness of Asperger's Syndrome and autism. I'd like to show through my sport and achievements that people with Asperger's Syndrome can be successful and can achieve something, no matter how big or small. It all came to a head on World Autism Awareness Day (2nd April) when I was browsing through Twitter to see Lennox Lewis tweeting about autism. I replied to one of his tweets and was surprised to not only have a reply but also a retweet.
Through Lennox's tweeting I also became aware of Anna Kennedy whom I got in touch with. After sending a few tweets back and forth Anna asked if I wouldn't mind sharing my story on her website which I immediately agreed to. These interactions led to my invitation to speak at Autism's Got Talent and then at the Autism Show, where Anna Kennedy asked me if I would like to become a patron of her charity Anna Kennedy Online. I of course was delighted and immediately agreed, to me Anna's charity fits so well with what I would like to do. I love the positive nature Anna has and that she and her team take action rather than just words. The events Anna pulls together which highlight positive stories of those on the spectrum is also something that I admire and believe in. As a patron I will help Anna to promote the work of her charity, endeavour to help other people struggling with the effects of Asperger's and autism if I can and of course continue to speak about my experiences.
For more info on my story please click here to go to AKO website
Click here for my blog post on becoming a patron for AKO
I was recently invited by Anna Kennedy to speak at Autism's Got Talent at the Mermaid Theatre in London. This took place on the 11th May. Autism's Got Talent is a show put on featuring a range of performers all with autistic spectrum conditions.
It was fantastic to be invited to be part of an event with so many talented and inspiring performers. My talk centred on my experiences growing up and how I had gone on to achieve within my sport and other areas of my life. It was the biggest audience I have ever spoken to and since I have been overwhelmed to have had so many messages from members of the audience.
Click here to see my blog post re Autism's Got Talent