College celebrates Autism Awareness Week

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

IMG_1036aHaving built a strong reputation as the leading college in South Essex for those with Special Educational Needs, Seevic College is raising awareness of autism across its campus in honour of Schools’ Autism Awareness Week.

Taking place from 14-18 March, the Week aims to encourage young people to learn more about the condition as well as take part in activities within their school or college to collect funds for The National Autistic Society.

Following an open discussion in College about autism and its impact, students came up with fundraising ideas prompting a onesie and wig day.  The event took place on Wednesday 16 March, with students encouraged to donate £1 for taking part.

The College, based in Runnymede Chase, Benfleet, believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, develop and aspire to live confidently and independently.  Delivering supported learning to implement this, Seevic works with students at all stages of the autism spectrum; from those with Asperger syndrome to high-functioning autism, as well as those with other conditions.

Four autistic students shared their experiences of dealing with the condition in College.  Luke Young, 18, said: “Although my previous school was great, at Seevic students are on a much wider autism spectrum so our Tutors know how to handle all situations.”

Katie Talbot, 17, added: “Seevic has been a lot more useful for me than secondary school, because there is always someone to speak to who understands.”

Jacob Agus, 17, agreed saying: “I feel a lot more included at College.”

Luke, Katie and Jacob are currently on the Personalised Pathways programme at the College; a programme designed for young people who would benefit from learning within a supported environment.  

With a wide variety of pathways to choose from, students are able to concentrate on a particular area of interest to them.  Changing between pathways every term, most would assume that this would be difficult for an autistic person to adjust to however Tutors have found that it could not be further from the truth.

Kay Davis, Head of Foundation Learning & Community Development at the College, said: “We feel confident to be able to change students’ pathways so often because of the safe setting that the College provides. 

“Although it may be typically hard for an autistic person to adjust to change, it is important for our students to get used to a changing environment as that is what they will experience in both society and the workplace.”

Schools’ Autism Awareness Week has been a great opportunity for Seevic to teach its students that understanding creates acceptance, and hopes to encourage others to take that on board too. 

Tom Milne, 19, also on the Personalised Pathways programme concluded: “To us, we’re all just normal students and Seevic understands that.”

To find out more about the College’s Foundation Learning programmes, visit www.seevic-college.ac.uk/foundation

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