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St Margaret’s Academy Marks National Autism Awareness Week

STUDENTS at St Margaret’s CE Academy (SMA) are taking part in events this week to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

SMA have a full programme of events lined up to help equip young people and their teachers with an understanding of ASD and the knowledge to accept and empathise with autistic people, as the first ever Schools’ Autism Awareness Week gets underway.

Alex Lowery, public speaker and trainer on autism, visited the school on Monday, delivering a speech to year 12 students challenging stereotypes and misunderstanding about ASD.

Having been diagnosed with autism when he was four years old Alex was able to share his experiences, holding engaging sessions with students from across the school about growing up with autism and learning to embrace it.

Pupils were then able to discuss how they could help reduce the stigma and consider the best ways to help someone with ASD grow into an independent young adult.  

SMA teachers have also been getting involved, adapting their lesson plans to make instructions more visual and using group discussion to directly engage with pupils.

Staff will also wear pink and purple clothing on Wednesday to prompt discussion that although they stand out, they are still the same individual with the same thoughts and abilities.

Mrs Pritchard, special educational needs co-ordinator at SMA, says: “As a school, we strive to help our young people with ‘hidden’ disabilities such as autism by providing strategies with which they are able to function independently. We also aim to help all our pupils become aware of, understand and accept those around them who may be autistic.

“Autism affects how a person thinks, feels and learns, and we believe it is crucial that teachers and fellow pupils know and understand as much as possible about the condition. We are determined that everyone who is on the autistic spectrum should get the best start possible, and should have the chance to enjoy their time at school as much as everyone else.”


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