Autism with Attitude street dance group from Hillingdon Manor School, Uxbridge — who made history last July when they qualified as the first special needs dance team to make it through to the finals of the United Dance Organisations (UDO) Championships — are preparing to head off to Germany to compete in the next stage of the competition, the European Championships (11-13 May 2018 ) in Kalkar.
On Autism Dance Day (27 April 2018), they will be refining their dance moves and joining other young people with autism across the UK who will be striking a pose to raise autism awareness. Anna Kennedy OBE, Autism Ambassador for Outcomes First Group, is encouraging all participants to post their comments, pictures and video on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #autismdanceday.
Commenting on Autism Dance Day, she said:
Dance helps children with autism to enhance their social skills and to develop self-confidence. Autism with Attitude will be demonstrating to young people with autism exactly what can be achieved with a little determination, enthusiasm and dedication.
I’d love to see even more schools and communities getting their dancing shoes on for this fantastic event and helping to raise awareness and funds for autism.
Part of Outcomes First Group, Hillingdon Manor School provides specialist education and support to pupils with autism aged 3-19.
Dance teacher Jonathan Baron founded Autism with Attitude in 2013 after students from the school were offered the opportunity to perform in ‘Autism’s Got Talent’, a show set up by Anna Kennedy.
Autism with Attitude has been busy preparing for the journey abroad, an experience that is a first for many in the group. In preparation for their flight, Jonathan recently took the students to Heathrow Airport to perform a flash mob dance to celebrate World Autism Awareness Week. This enabled students to familiarise themselves with the airport surroundings and provided some predictability and reassurance ahead of their big journey. Autism with Attitude has also been working hard to perfect their routine by attending local performances to ensure that the final act is fully rehearsed.
Commenting on the group, Jonathan said:
I am so proud of every single member of the team who have put their heart and souls into this in preparation for their milestone trip to Germany.
Not only are these talented students making history in the world of dance, they are really challenging themselves, conquering new feelings and environments, representing the UK on an international platform and acting as role models to young people with autism nationwide.