School gears up for autism expo

INSPIRED KNOWLEDGE: College Street School is preparing for their annual autism expo in April. Picture: SUPPLIED

College Street School is gearing up for its annual autism expo that will take place on Friday April 14.

The event is aimed to tie in with April being recognised as Global Autism Awareness Month. The expo has become an important event in the school’s outreach calendar.

The day will consist of exhibits and speakers, with professional and alternative health information available as well as input from advocacy groups. The aim of the day is to provide hope and support, along with some snacks and parent-supervised fun.

According to Julie Cromhout, an educational psychologist at the school, the main aim of the expo is to provide knowledge and information to the public.

“We have created a safe and free place for parents, carers, grandparents, and teachers to ask questions, learn, share, and seek advice and guidance. The aim is that families will take advantage of this expo as an opportunity to ask questions regarding their unique circumstances.

“The hope is that attendees will leave empowered to take the next step, or to feel listened to and supported,” said Cromhout.

The information will be shared at exhibitor tables in the school hall with a speech therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, social worker, teachers, and teacher aides available to chat.

This is the first year that College Street School has been recognised as a fully-fledged special school. This event is a collaborative effort between Autism South Africa and the Down Syndrome Association Amathole.

There will be a big walk on the school field on Saturday.

“Access to knowledge and information (about autism) has grown in recent times and BCM has offered more care settings in schooling environments than in previous years,” said Cromhout.

“BCM is responding to the needs of the neurodiverse community from across schooling, retail, and the service industry. It’s the practical application of that knowledge for families, that may help to improve the functional ability of an individual living with an autism spectrum disorder.”

The expo will take place at College Street School on Friday, April 14 from 12pm to 3pm and Saturday April 15 from 9.30am to 1pm. Parking will be on Beaconsfield Road and on-site on College Street. For info, visit the school’s Facebook page.

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