Book your place on this inspirational talk from Teesside University Honorary Graduate Anna Kennedy OBE who is the mother of two boys, Patrick and Angelo, who are both affected by autism.

In 1999, having been turned away by no fewer than 26 special needs schools when searching for appropriate educational facilities for her sons, she decided to take matters into her own hands and remortgaged her home to transform a derelict council building in Middlesex, West London into Hillingdon Manor School.

The school, which is now a centre of excellence for children and young adults with autism, has earned considerable recognition for its outstanding work and early in its life caught the imagination of Esther Rantzen who is now Hillingdon Manor's patron.

In 2008 Anna co-authored her best selling biography 'Not Stupid' which poignantly portrayed her struggle to find appropriate provision for her boys – a story which will be familiar to many parents who feel they could not get what they felt their children needed from the local education authority.

Anna's story appeared as an hour long BBC 'pick of the day' Video Diary documentary and her story has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the Times Educational Supplement, The Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail.

Anna is regularly invited to speak at conferences on the subject of autism and has also taken part in many high profile TV talk shows, debates and news programmes.

Recently Anna met with the Department of Health to share results of their charities survey on autism diagnosis. Anna will share these results and feedback at her presentation in April at the University.

In 2008 she merged her school with Hillcrest Autism Services to gain access to greater resources to continue her work.

Anna went on to win ‘Woman of the Year’ in 2009, an award run in conjunction with The Observer newspaper and during the same year was also the recipient of the coveted Institute of Directors (IOD) Chairman’s special award for outstanding contribution to the community.

Samantha Cameron named her the Daily Mail’s most Inspirational Woman of the Year 2010 and most recently Tesco Mum of the Year 2013.

In November 2013, Anna, who is from Middlesbrough, received an Honorary Doctor in Professional Achievement from the University.

Don't miss out on this event - book your place here.