Autism - The Reason We're On Air
A Station Is Born
AJK Radio was started as a hobby by Alex Kelly, originally set up for his autistic son, Xander, who has used it to develop his social skills and life confidence.
Since then AJK has taken on other autistic (and non-autistic) presenters to offer them a similar start into broadcasting and to provide an outlet for their voice.
Here is some autism information that we have put together:
- Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
- More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK.
- Every person on the autism spectrum is different. It can present some serious challenges – but, with the right support and understanding, autistic people and their families can live full lives.
- Although everyone is different, people on the autism spectrum may:
- be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely difficult
- find social situations and change a challenge, sometimes leading to extreme levels of anxiety
- experience a ‘meltdown’ if overwhelmed by anxiety or sensory overload
- benefit from extra time to process and respond to communication.
- Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Aspergers are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
The reason our station was created
AJK Radio is the idea of Alex Kelly.
Alex has learnt his radio craft over the last 25 years via Hospital Radio, he has a passion for music and technology.
In 2004, his son Xander was born 3 months early weighing in at 690g.
By 2007 at the age of three Xander was accompanying his Dad, and on air with him, using the equipment like a pro.
As Xander has got older, he has been diagnosed with Autism. This has lead to challenges, especially socially.
Xander has his Dad's thirst for Technology and music, but the trips in the big wide world can be traumatic for both.
2015 Christmas Day
After a visit to Broadcast Radio in Hull in the September of that year, Alex took delivery of professional radio kit, and launched AJK Radio online Christmas Day 8am 2015.
This has allowed Xander to continue to broadcast with his Dad, in the safety of the home studio.
As the station has found it's feet, Alex has started looking at ways to get other presenters on board.
Each presenter was asked to spend £150 for the equipment to be used from their home. From there they can connect to the studio remotely and 'voice track' a show for broadcast later at an agreed time. It allows the shows to sound 'as good as live'
This funding plea is for the next stage of the evolution of the broadcasting.
Paul is our latest autistic presenter who started with us March 2017.
With the donations we receive we're able to provide our presenters the opportunity to be able to actually broadcast shows 'live' for the first time; and if funds allow, place the same remote facilities in our local Autism Support centres.
AJK Radio vs COVID
Alex, is proud to be a voice for Autism, and the station can be found on all the usual social channels.
If the station got 100 friends of the station to donate £5 - that's the target started
As our third year of broadcasting continues, we look to a bigger audience base and an even wider choice of tunes from the UK chart archives of the last 65 years.
MY SON'S NOT NAUGHTY
“My son’s not naughty – he’s autistic.
It’s just that sometimes he gets overwhelmed. The bright lights reflecting on the shopping centre floor.
The different music coming from different shops. The smell of the perfumes on every shopper, the wafts of coffee, tea, burgers, chips. Every face, every conversation. Everything, all at once.
So if you see someone having a meltdown, don’t judge them – think ‘TMI’ instead. It can make a world of difference to someone like my son.”
AUTISM, THE PERSON AND WHAT TO DO
Give the person some time – it can take a while to recover from an information overload. Calmly ask them (or their parent or friend) if they’re OK, but bear in mind they’ll need more time to respond than you might expect. You see, with so much going on around them, autistic people sometimes need more time to process information. So if you ever ask a question and don’t get an answer right away, just wait. It might seem like the meltdown will never end, but it will. So just be patient, and be there.
Try to create a quiet, safe space as best you can. Ask people to move along and not to stare; turn off loud music and turn down bright lights – whatever you can think of to reduce the information overload, try it.
Imagine feeling so overloaded that you just couldn’t cope. Imagine the difference it would make if someone showed you a little kindness, rather than judging you as a naughty kid having a meltdown, or a ‘weirdo’ flapping their hands. A little understanding can go a long, long way – just a nod or some words of kindness can really put someone at ease.
Finding it hard to imagine? Then find out from autistic people what it really feels like.