College Street Primary School will host their first Autism Awareness Day on Saturday as April is Autism Awareness Month.
The event will be held from 9am to 12pm and entry is free. College Street caters for autistic children as well as mildly cognitively impaired children.
“The intention is to gather together people and organisations who have knowledge or information about some of the challenges faced by children on the Autism spectrum.
“Our hope is that our parents will be exposed to what is available out there to support them. Having a child with autism can be an expensive exercise for parents, but they are also prepared to do what it takes to support their children,” educational psychologist Julie Cromhout said.
She said there would be tables available in their school hall where professionals would be on hand to answer general questions. Companies can use the opportunity to show their products and brochures will be available.
“We are not aiming to endorse any product available and no sales will be made. Some speakers have been invited to share encouragement and practical support from parents who are also affected by autism.
“The point is that there are resources in East London, including families with experience, and they are best equipped to know what could help. We are all learning and increasing our knowledge about autism – this is what the open day will be about,” Cromhout said.
“The main criteria for a diagnosis of autism include: challenges with communication, social interaction and social imagination, often and can be accompanied by repetitive actions.” she said.
Cromhout said Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) could have a range of different effects. Some are pre-verbal and children with autism may need to learn alternative ways of communicating. Some children have sensory issues, anxiety and ADHD can also be present as well as learning disabilities.
Some individuals can also be gifted in certain areas – some could go on to become engineers, writers or doctors etc.
Regardless of how autism manifests, what all people affected need is recognition,