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My Story

Hello,

a bit about me

I’m a lawyer and former ombudsman specialising in cases involving vulnerable consumers impacted by the Equality Act 2010. I’m used to procedure and order as well as amplifying the voice of others. But there was no greater test for me than when I had to apply my advocacy skills on behalf of my own family.

I have two children the eldest of whom is autistic. It wasn’t something I suspected; there is no history of autism in our family – at least none that I’m aware of.

In my community, we were always told to listen to authorities and elders, not question their decisions, as they always knew best. We shouldn’t talk about our problems publicly either and just get on with things quietly however much we may struggle. When I got Evy’s diagnosis, I quickly recognised that following the cultural norms wouldn’t serve my family and could hamper opportunities for him to grow and thrive. And that was not something I was prepared to do.

Reena Anand
Reena Anand

My husband is as engaged in supporting my son as I am – but I recognise this is not always the case, and often, mothers especially, can feel like they’re solo parenting whilst their partners struggle to come to terms with the diagnosis. This is another reason why I’m passionate about opening up dialogue in this space so parents can feel empowered, not ashamed, of their child’s diagnosis.

Having an autistic child without a diagnosis can feel like you’re stuck in a place where you’re always fighting against something whilst you search for the right ‘label’. But getting a diagnosis can feel like you’ve lost something too. I see that – I’ve been there.

I want to encourage parents to realise that with a diagnosis comes clarity that can lead to an improved life with your child, beginning with an insight and understanding into their world so you can best serve them.

Obtaining Evy’s diagnosis took longer than I would have liked. Getting it meant acknowledging and adjusting to a new way of life.

But we did it – and he’s thriving. I firmly believe that your child can too – and it starts with you.
Let me help you feel empowered to advocate for your child.

As a fellow autism mum, I am committed to serving children and families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

The data shows that these children fare worse longer-term because of shame, stigma, denial and judgement from communities and family members; a lack of support in healthcare and education; structural racism; missed or late diagnoses and more. Therefore, interventions are often being implemented later, hampering our children’s opportunity to thrive. I believe that every child is uniquely gifted. I empower parents to amplify their voices and support their children to thrive in their uniqueness as early as possible in their autism journeys. The goal is for them to have the best possible chance of success – however, this may be defined for them.

Where I'm contributing

If you want to find out more about my professional background, here are a few organisations I’ve worked with, and you can visit my LinkedIn profile for more detail.

West Lodge Primary School, Pinner, London

West Lodge Primary School

Chair of Governors & Inclusion link governor

Aubilities with Reena Anand

Aubilities

Co-production Board Member

Race Equality Foundation Logo

Race Equality Foundation

Trustee on the Management Committee

UN Women UK

Neurodiversity Equity Consultant

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