My name is Kellie Barker, I’m 45, I live in Kent and I have three children 21, 15, and 9.
My youngest son has a complex diagnosis of Autism & SEND, I grew up in a house that fostered with my birth family and many children coming and going throughout my childhood. My Parents are and were great advocates for all children and as a young carer myself, I have taken this engrained belief from my early years into adulthood, I have one birth sibling Daniel, he too is a fierce advocate and works globally advocating for children.
Who would know that our own birth children would develop such skills as young carers years later, they definitely all have advocating in their blood - it is natural to them .
I love a bargain and a good rummage round the shops when I get time. My latest addiction is Vinted, the online recycled clothes app, and have vowed to buy less new things this year and start recycling what we have, to reduce waste, I’ve also started to drive an electric car.
I love mint aero chocolate and ALL puddings .
About Kellies Career
I spent 16 years managing a referrals team for an independent fostering agency my parents ran, and gave up this role when Oscar began his diagnosis. It became impossible for me to fulfil both roles. I loved my job and I was very good at it, I have since thought about sharing my lived experiences as a young carer & child who fostered and a placement manager, parent of child with disabilities in perhaps a fostering panel, this is something I’m considering for the future .
I’m currently training to be an Autism Peer support trainer it has been back to the classroom for me ,and I’ve learned so much and I’m really enjoying it. This is something I will take forward in some capacity for sure.
IT’S SO IMPORTANT THAT WE ALL USE OUR LIVED EXPERIENCE WHERE WE CAN
I’m a bit of a sensationalist I love a challenge, everything’s worth the effort and I want the wow. .
I annoy my husband as I wake most days excited with fire in my belly, driven to making sure I achieve my goals I’m not good at the relaxing quiet side of life, I simply want to explore and experience life and live. That said, I am good at setting time aside and switching off. I can be very stubborn like that, I take the me time when I feel overloaded.
The past year has been traumatic for me. I lost my best friend to cancer, it was a heart-breaking situation for her children and family and I am now viewing life very differently-I’m more grateful than ever for friends, relationships and people in general.
I’m a hugger, I love people, I love my friends and I tell people if they are important to me. We keep people mostly. Every professional in Oscars life we have kept in some capacity, we cant do goodbyes. I keep healthy relationships with my friends and regularly check in, I also love to support people if I can - the world is big enough for everyone, everyone has skills to celebrate .
The reasons for me starting a Squad page is to protect Oscar primarily,
Born Anxious is built on his experiences in the world so far.
We spread messages throughout the clothing, about situations that we have been in to pave the way for people that perhaps don’t know that they need to start a conversation yet , or remind others to be kind.
With this in mind, more and more now I feel he needs to be shared with a smaller group of like minded people in a safe space, so that’s exactly what we are doing,
We hope it will build even more community and it will be a space where people can socialise with people who understand that we are all facing the same storm,
We are just in different boats .
Kellies thoughts and feelings on being a parent of SEND
It is my aim as Oscars primary care giver to explore the world through his eyes and learn how to better connect with my son, protect his Autonomy at all times and be the calm in his storm.
I have strong feelings about Inclusion, celebrating all skills regardless of need and challenging social norms and pre set ideas about different abilities ,we need to change the conversation for the generations that follow so there is no fight for equality, fair assessment of need and services this i will not apologise for , disability is not a dirty word and the more we normalise that conversation daily the easier that conversation flows in society .
I like to think I’m transparent ,this journey is not for ‘sissys’, its the hardest job I’ve ever had and I didn’t even apply for it!!!!!! But it is a journey of discovery and hope and I will be doing it to the best of my ability and paving the way for others .
I really hope everyone feels that the group can benefit everyone in some way, it will be a safe space for people to connect with each other where we can lift each other up and encourage each other ,help each other as much as we can , for the greater good , being a parent carer is a lonely job and it needn’t be.
I started born anxious to attempt to communicate with people in times we were misunderstood experiencing the world. It has encouraged kindness for us and changed how we have experienced things as a family, The clothing also meets sensory needs as there are no labels and we use organic fabrics.
We have been running 4 years and have achieved so much, with so much support from everyone. We plan to continue doing just that; donate to charities, continue our work as charity champions for Anna Kennedy Online and Work For Good UK, and continue building on our collaborations -working together with other organisations and charities that contribute to positive outcomes for people with disabilities,
I’m extremely proud of Born Anxious and although I have no full time staff, I do work closely with an amazing designer Amy and I do have a PR company and a tech support, plus many many loyal supporters - all of whom I could not do without; it really is everyone’s label to celebrate.
We have so many amazing things coming up this year as we continue networking and growing and we want to be able to share it with you first hand.
I have been approached many times to sell born anxious which is a social enterprise, at points this is consistent and the answer is always the same - Born Anxious is not and will never be for sale it is Oscar’s journey, it isn’t equatable to a figure. If we did not own it, it simply wouldn’t be genuine, as they are our experiences.
I hope you feel you might know me a little better now, I look forward to getting to know you all a little better also x e sharing with others in a bid to connect.