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Editor’s note: Anna Kennedy OBE’s guest during Autism Awareness Week on Women’s Radio Station is Tess Eagle Swan. She was diagnosed with autism later in life and shares how her diagnosis has changed her life. Tess is also well-known because of her wonderful rescue dog Kratu who recently appeared on Crufts. Kratu is Tess’s best friend. Tess also shares how the coronavirus has impacted on her daily life.
Looking after mental well being is essential. I am spending a lot of time outdoors, listening to the birds, pulling up nettles, and training my dogs. The most important thing for me is to stay off TV and radio – not to listen to news. I find that it overwhelms me and pushes me towards an overload.
If anyone finds the news overwhelming Phil Mollen, a teacher and mentor of mine has this gift on YouTube:
Another friend has a video library at Naturally Happy Dogs – Here is a code for a month’s free access HTNOMENO
Mental stimulation is so important for our pets when they have less walks during this time. Teach a trick, or how to settle, learn a new behaviour with them. It encourages bonding too. Use a treat to reward, keep sessions short and always end on a positive outcome with a treat. I get great satisfaction from seeing my dogs balanced, able to relax and much happier.
I have set myself some goals. Ridding my garden of nettles. Eating healthily and walking the dogs. Fighting bulimia and finally winning after 36 years is something I wont let go of right now. Going to stay on top of this.
Being able to share my story about Kratu – my dog who I rescued and who is my support – to others is so empowering to me. I have always had little self-esteem and self-confidence. Achieving all the things we have done together makes me feel like I have done something good in my life. Overcoming all the obstacles I have done and never giving up because I believed in something better was going to happen. I knew I was different and didn’t understand why until I got diagnosed.
Now I have wings and I can fly. I feel at peace finally. I love being the way I am. I can do some things that others cant. I might see the world in a different way but that’s my way. And that’s perfect for me. I am finally happy in my skin. Kratu was my key to this and being diagnosed was the key turning in the lock to open the door to all possibilities and the rest of our life helping people and inspiring others along the way.
‘Impossible’ became ‘I’m possible’. Always believe in yourself and never give up. Look at us. Against all odds we made it to here. And here is a very happy place.
Tess, Kratu, and Polo also appeared on Autism’s Got Talent in 2019 and amazed the audience in central London. There will be an online free workshop this Thursday 2nd April on ‘Autism, Sensing, and Mental Health. Please check out the Anna Kennedy Online for further information.
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