During week beginning 28 March, people across the world have been marking World Autism Acceptance Week in the run up to the World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday 2 April 2022. Our fantastic SEND team at FHS have been supporting this effort in developing further understanding and acceptance of Autism across the school community, and even raising some funds for Autism Initiatives along the way (at last glance at the totaliser this was a whopping £1,587)!
On Monday and Friday this week, the SEND team donned their walking shoes and Walk for Autism t-shirts to further raise the profile and awareness across the school and community. FHS staff and students have been joining people from all over the country completing 10,000 steps per day across eight days as part of this year’s Walk for Autism. One student taking part proudly commented: “I’m taking part as I’m autistic and I think it’s important that people don’t view autistic people as the stereotypes society has set for them, instead they should view people for who they really are.”
The team took a group of students to Me Cycle as part of the launch event on Monday and today they took a larger group of Year 7, 8 and 9 students on a Walk for Autism. The original aim was to reach a MILLION steps this week – but of course they smashed that and are now at 2,113,708! Talking about the walk, one of our students said, “I think Walk for Autism is important because people need to realise that there are many people around with Autism – Autism isn’t a disability, it’s a gift that should be understood more.” Indeed, throughout this week in form tutor time, our Daily Notes have focussed upon raising awareness, covering a wealth of information. This has included learning about some positive role models with Autism such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Leonel Messi (footballer) and Nikola Tesla (Engineer and Inventor). A student commented that “some of the most intelligent people on earth, like Albert Einstein, had Autism and people need to be aware of the good sides of Autism and how it can be a gift.”
Mrs Warwick, SENDCO, added that neuro-diversity will be a core focus for the school over the coming year so that students can build their understanding of the needs people have and how we can work as a community to offer support. As one of our students said, “I feel Autism is a spectrum and people are differently affected and so there’s no one way to work with autistic people.”
To find out more about Autism, The National Autistic Society and Autism Initiatives are well established and offer support for young people and families. ADDvanced Solutions offer support for families and young people with neuro-diverse conditions, including information and networking opportunities for parents of young people with Autism. They also offer a ‘New Diagnosis’ course for parents of children recently diagnosed with Autism. Finally, this short YouTube video helps to explain what happens when a young person with Autism becomes overwhelmed by a situation and suggests ways to support them.
Probably no better way to end this important week than to share a poem written by one of our students…
Life through a different lens by Abigail (Year 9)
Life is a wonderful thing,
It’s not something made with paper or string.
It’s art. Full of colour and life,
Everything is different through one another’s eyes.
Life is too short to not step out of your range,
So, let’s begin a new path which derives from change.
Autism, a new look on life.
Not something which should be pushed to the side.
Autism is a change of colour, something new,
And not everyone gets to experience it, not something you can pursue.
Looking at life with a new lens,
Something on which life depends.
This difference is good, not to be shunned.
And from these differences, there’s no need to run.
Autism is like a pair of wings,
Just be ready to fly, jump and spring.