The Disabilities Trust’s Heathermount School in Ascot has been raising autism awareness by organising a school assembly at St Francis Primary School in South Ascot. As part of World Autism Awareness Week Tracey Gillard, Teacher and Teaching Assistant, Michael Manley ran the assembly on autism awareness, sharing their professional and personal experiences.

In their presentation they talked about topics such as ‘what is autism?’ and ‘what it feels like to have autism’ which were presented by Michael.

Tracey then ran a short exercise with the students, splitting them into two groups. One side were asked to talk whilst the other side shut their eyes to demonstrate the overwhelming sensations people with autism can have. They were then asked how it felt and said that ‘they felt left out and annoyed as they couldn’t see what was going on. They couldn’t understand what people were saying and some said it made them feel lonely’. They also covered the myths and facts about autism:

Autism Myth - Every autistic person is good at maths, art and music.
Autism Fact - Many autistic people feel emotions intensely and can be overwhelmed by emotions of others.

Heathermount has also been asked by Langley College in Slough to run professional development for their special educational needs and disability (SEND) department. Plans are also underway for the local Maloney’s Budgens shop on Ascot High Street to have a display about autism, further promoting autism in the community.

At Heathermount all students are helped to become independent, confident young adults who are able to leave school and enter the world of further education or employment. No student has left Heathermount and become a government statistic for Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). All have either progressed to colleges of further education or into the world of work.

Our person centred approach is critical to the success of every one of our students, and there is a strong commitment to a positive and progressive school experience. The key to success for students lies within our capacity to individualise the learning experience around the young person's strengths and autistic needs.

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