Tag Archives: Autism

“We are the young people, we are the experts, and we really want to be heard”: Inclusion Ambassadors⤴

from @ Reach

“It feels very low to be left out”. “We need to be treated equally”. “I’d need to trust the people I’m asking for help”. Words of wisdom from a group of young people with diverse support needs campaigning for everyone to be included, no one left out.

The post “We are the young people, we are the experts, and we really want to be heard”: Inclusion Ambassadors appeared first on Reach.

“I’m Jenny…. and this is MY autism”⤴

from @ Reach

“Having autism is unique – it’s not painful, or itchy, or sore – it’s just how I see the world”. Check out this Fixers film and hear a girl called Jenny on a campaign to end the stigma about having Aspergers and to show it’s no reason to stop believing in yourself….

The post “I’m Jenny…. and this is MY autism” appeared first on Reach.

Jordan’s story – autism, school, friends and other life lessons⤴

from @ Reach

Hello, this is Jordan . I’m 19 years old, live in Ardrossan and I am autistic. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 3. It affects my daily lifestyle in many ways. I also am the author of “JUST Jordan”, a newsletter that I write monthly about topics that affect me as an autistic person. I am passionate about raising awareness about autism, so much so I have won two awards for my voluntary work at the National Autistic Society.

When I was at school, I always felt the need to tell everyone I met, my classmates, about the fact I am autistic because I felt like sharing my diagnosis so that everyone knew why I acted differently from other people. Their reaction was mostly that they didn’t know what autism was so I explained it to them, in the most simple way I could. I guess you could say I got the odd inclusion from then on. However, it was probably harder to explain autism to my teachers because they would have to find out my needs for the classroom, schoolwork and other things like that. But there was one teacher from secondary school who completely understood me. He was my guidance teacher who would come to help me if need be, for example: helping me with social skills.

At secondary school, my favourite subjects were Art and Design (I was and still am pretty artistic as you will see from my newsletter), Games Development (gaming is one of my favorite things to do and I wanted to learn more about how to make one) and Maths (I am quite bright and was really good at Maths). Another hobby of mine is to go out for a drive in my car since I passed my driving test last year and now I can go visit my friends whenever I please. I am also very much into helping my mother organize fundraising events for the National Autistic Society and Jo’s Cervical Cancer trust, both charities that mean a lot to us.

screen-shot-2017-01-20-at-11-24-19When I was still in school, I didn’t really feel a lot of social pressure because I usually went to a room where pupils with learning difficulties or anything similar would socialize in the school break and lunch time. It was called the “Social Base” and this is where I found my best friends and we have remained friends ever since. As a result, I never really experienced my personal struggles, which are noise and the smell of certain things. I think social bases in schools really help pupils fit in, make new friends and help with communication skills. However, I eventually got the confidence to leave the “Social Base” to socialize with other pupils but ended up just watching people socializing around me instead of getting involved myself.

School wasn’t exactly all sunshine as I did have to confront bullies. If school life could be made better for young people with autism in one way, it would have to be how to deal with bullies. Bullies would need to understand how they upset others from the victim’s point of view and would need to be educated that others are different in their own way and that they should not be criticised on their differences. If they are curious about someone, then the bullies should ask an appropriate question which doesn’t offend the other person.

At least the big move from primary to secondary school was not a problem for me as everything was well planned, for example the bus routes from my house to school were already in place as was the introductory tour of the school, in which we experienced a full week of secondary school with our future classmates and teachers. I also got all of my new school supplies and uniform. Also, the headteacher from the secondary school came to explain what it would be like there.

Now that I have graduated from school and passed my exams, I spend my time by doing voluntary work as a young campaigner, also at the One Stop Shop where I supervise group activities, and doing admin at the local radio station 3TFM.

What I am most proud of though is my newsletter JUST Jordan, which you can read here.

You can join Jordan’s Facebook page here.

Or follow Jordan on twitter.


The post Jordan’s story – autism, school, friends and other life lessons appeared first on Reach.

On dog lovers, homonyms and aspergers: An interview with Author Ann Martin⤴

from @ Reach

Best known for The Baby Sitters Club, author Ann Martin was over from New York for the Edinburgh International Book Festival to talk about her book Looking for a Lost Dog. We asked a pupil called Estella, who is a fan of the book, to interview Ann for us. Our thanks to the National Autistic Society for their help arranging this.

ann-martin-with-estellaAnn explained to Estella what her book Looking for a Lost Dog was about. “It’s about a young girl named Rose who is on the autism spectrum. Rose lives a very isolated life – both literally, because they live way out in the countryside, and emotionally, because her dad doesn’t really understand her. Her one emotional connection to the world is her dog Rain. The story is about what happens when Rain goes missing during a big storm and Rose decides to look for her. But what happens is not quite what you would expect…”


And why did Ann decide to write a book about a girl with Aspergers, wondered Estella. Ann explained that she had worked many years ago with children who were autistic. She also had been curious about an uncle of hers who she had never met but had heard lots about: “years and years ago in the 1930s he was diagnosed with what was then called ‘childhood schizophrenia’. But I have a feeling that if he were alive today he would be diagnosed as being somewhere on the autistic spectrum”.

While Ann doesn’t have Aspergers herself, she says there are things about the condition she can definitely relate to: “like everyone, I have little quirkslike sometimes I get nervous in crowds and have to leave. I think all of us have things like that”. Like Rose in the book, Ann also loves homonyms – which is where two or more words have the same spelling or sound the same said aloud, but have different meanings – like ‘bear’ and ‘bare’; or ‘air’ and ‘heir’. 

Ann and Estella shared a moment about their love of dogs – Ann explained that she used to have a dog called Sadie, who lived to the ripe old age of 16. “I had her by my side when I wrote this book, and also two other books I had written before. Sadie was my inspiration.”

Talking about her own school experience, Ann said her other inspiration for writing had been her creative writing teacher Mr Dorrity. Ann told Estella that on the whole she had liked school “even though I was very shy. I felt that I had support from my teachers and my friends, although sometimes making friends could be a bit difficult.”

If you have autism and feel that you may need extra support to be able to get the most out of school, contact us for advice about your rights. 




The post On dog lovers, homonyms and aspergers: An interview with Author Ann Martin appeared first on Reach.

Young champions for pupils with autism have their say on the blog, plus how you too can share your views⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

AP riverside gang group picSpecial guests on the blog this week, pupils from Riverside Primary in Stirling who act as mentors and champions for people with autism at their school.  Autism is a condition that can affect how a person talks and listens to other people, how they learn and how they make friends. You can watch this ace Fixers film to find out more.  “We are the AP Gang from Riverside Primary School Continue reading

Ross High pupil, Fiona Scott to present at ICT workshop⤴


6th year pupil, Fiona Scott will be demonstrating her excellent use of speech recognition software at and ICT workshop tomorrow in Edinburgh.  Originally Shirley Lawson was going to present the case study but Fiona has agreed to come and do a live demo – no mean feat!

Is Speech Recognition software finally beginning to realise it’s potential for learners with additional support needs?

This free workshop run by CALL Scotland and SQA will consider this question. Speech recognition systems are now freely available on Windows and MacOS computers and in mobile devices such as the iPad. At the same time, speech recognition is becoming of greater interest to schools as an alternative to scribes, given that scribes cannot be used for assessing writing in National Literacy assessments.

In this workshop we will review the tools available, including Windows 7 Speech Recognition; Dragon Naturally Speaking; iPad Siri; Google Voice Typing, and share experiences (both positive and negative) and, we hope, good practice.

The timetable is as follows:

  • 9.00: Coffee and registration
  • 9.30: Windows 7 Speech Recognition
    • Liz Fraser, Selkirk High School, will talk about a trial of the free built in Windows Speech Recognition that is currently running in Selkirk High School.
  • 10.00: Dragon Naturally Speaking
    • ​​Shirley Lawson, East Lothian, will present a case study about a pupil in S6 using Dragon Naturally Speaking.
    • Dianne Youngson, Dunblane High School will present a case study about a learner using Dragon in Higher assessments and exams.
  • 10.50: Comfort Break
  • 11.10: iOS Siri
    • ​​CALL staff will introduce this session and demonstrate Siri. There will be input from Emma Slavin from Balfron High School about using Siri with iReadWrite, and from other colleagues.
  • 11.40: Google Android
    • ​​​Craig Mill from CALL will give an overview of Google Now and Google Voice Typing.
  • ​12:10 Plenary Discussion

Information from this workshop will be reported back on this blog.

Special needs are a special case⤴

from @ Mimanifesto - Jaye's weblog

I came across a great blog post, courtesy of my twitter PLN this afternoon, which has really had me thinking. The writer, Jarlath O’Brien makes a passionate and convincing case for non inclusive education – specifically, special needs schools. I try to avoid writing about this subject, as its very close to home. My son (now […]

Hillpark school buddies win Autism Champions award⤴

from @ Enquire - young people's blog

Big congratulations to the pupils at Hillpark Secondary School in Glasgow, who Autism Network Scotland have given their Autism Champions Award to.

Pupils in 5th and 6th year have got the award for being buddies to younger pupils who get support from Hillpark school’s autism unit. The buddies have been helping pupils with autism in lots of ways, as this young person explains: “The buddies helped me well with social skills. Classes were better when they were there because it was much more fun and they understood the kind of difficulties I had when I came to secondary school. The buddies can explain how the school works and how to get on with people. I would like to be a buddy when I am older because I like helping people and the buddies certainly helped me. It is good to have older friends in the school because it helped me to feel more part of the school when I first came here.”

To become buddies, the prize-winning pupils took part in training to learn about autism and think about how they could relate to this in areas like feeling shy and finding it hard to make friends or be organised. This helped the buddies to see that people with autism are just like them in many ways, and that you can’t put them in a box and make judgements because everyone is different. The buddies also learnt about how pupils with autism might be feeling about issues at school like bullying, mis-use of social media, and finding it hard to make friends, which has helped them understand better how they can help.

It’s clear that the buddies have got a lot out of their friendships with pupils with autism. One buddy Christina said: “Being a buddy has given me so much insight into what being on the autism spectrum means and has given me the chance and become more knowledgeable and understanding of and encouraging to others I will meet in my life beyond school.”

You can find out more about the autism buddy project at Hillpark here.

Hillpark school have got a website too.