Home Children and Young People Ascent Autism Specialist College celebrate Neurodiversity Week

Ascent Autism Specialist College celebrate Neurodiversity Week

by Gemma Melling

Neurodiversity Awareness Week (Monday, 18 March to Friday, 22 March 2024) was a real cause for celebration at Ascent Autism Specialist College, based in Newton-le-Willows.

The college, which provides specialist education to autistic individuals aged 16 to 25, is committed to supporting its students to fulfil their own unique potential.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding neurological differences.

Across the week, the college hosted an array of activities, events and workshops that recognised the many talents of its students and celebrated the advantages of being neurodivergent.

On Tuesday, 19 March, a group of students from the careers experience group headed to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester to attend the National Apprenticeship and Education Event.

Students met with employers, training providers and other exhibitors at the event to discuss workplace and training opportunities.

On Wednesday, 20 March, two students, Khovan and Kieran, along with staff members from Ascent, visited Rainford High to deliver an autism awareness workshop that focused on the theme of employability.

Khovan and Kieran delivered an incredible presentation to attendees, where they shared how their weekly work experience placement at WN7 Outreach supports them in building confidence and developing new skills.

Khovan said: “It was great to share my experiences in the workplace and how this has helped me develop new skills and become more confident.”

Later in the week, fellow student and Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Youth Ambassador, Courtney, caught up with the DofE team to share her experience in the programme and how it has helped her improve her confidence and independence.

Courtney said: “As someone with autism, I have faced many barriers, but DofE has massively improved my confidence, independence and life skills.”

At the college site, students took part in an upcycling workshop with Quirky Designs, where they transformed used paint cans into bespoke plant pots and bins.

Students also participated in a developmental career workshop with Career Connect. The workshop focused on students building their vocational profiles and starting to identify their skills and qualities and how this could inform their future career paths.

At the end of the session, students attended one-to-one meetings where they received information, advice, and guidance on their individual goals for the future.

The week’s celebrations culminated in the college’s annual spring fayre. The fayre, hosted by students, featured a variety of stalls with bespoke items for sale, live music, and refreshments available from the Cosy Corner Café.

Head of adult services at Ascent College, Julliet Doherty, said: “Neurodiversity Celebration Week is such an important date in our calendar. It is a chance to shift the narrative and focus on all the positives and advantages of being neurodivergent.

“Through the delivery of a range of activities and workshops, we hope that our students feel even more confident and proud to celebrate their neurological differences.”


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