History-making Autism with Attitude – the special needs dance troupe from Hillingdon Manor School, Uxbridge – prepares to compete in UDO European Championships in Germany

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 compete in the next stage of the competition, the European Championships in Kalkar, Germany, Friday 11 May 2018 to Sunday 13 May 2018.

This week on Autism Dance Day Friday 27th 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 awareness of autism. Anna Kennedy OBE will be encouraging all 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 aged three to nineteen years old with autism.

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 talent show set up by Anna Kennedy. Five years on, the group are taking their new found dancing skills to an international level at Kalkar.

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  to enable students to familiarise themselves with the airport surroundings and to provide 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.”

To get involved with Autism Dance Day, please visit Anna Kennedy’s website: https://annakennedyonline.com/autism-dance-day-27th-april-2018/

To find out more about Hillingdon Manor School, please visit the website: https://www.hillingdonmanorschool.org.uk