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Our Social Inclusion Staff Award 2022 Winners!

A huge Congratulations to our team members, Claire Eden and Damien Homer, for winning the Social Inclusion Staff Award of 2022 for their work on the Easter residential for Autistic Young People! This award recognises the dual benefits this initiative had on the young people who attended the residential as well as the commitment of both Claire and Damien in the time they gave to the residential.

Damien and Claire commented saying “The Easter school allowed the autistic young people to experience university life with the security of a team of ambassadors and staff to help them…This directly encourages autistic youngsters to come to university, to feel that it is a safe place for them and that they will be listened to, understood, and welcomed and that their needs will be supported.”

The Easter Residential for Autistic Young People

Moving to University is life changing for everyone, but being autistic can make this transition even more challenging. Autistic people are neuro-diverse people living in a world created for (and broadly, by) neuro-typical people. Autism is often characterised by a wide spectrum of attributes, these can include social and communication difficulties, insistence on sameness, hyper or hypo-reactivity to sensory input and poor executive functioning skills. To support young people with autism the University of Warwick ran a three-day, two-night residential experience. The programme students was aimed at Year 12 students who are considering going to University. It sought to build confidence and enable students, and their parents, to see what opportunities and challenges they may face. Autistic people can have difficulties in unfamiliar environments and situations, which can be challenging and result in strong feelings of anxiety.

The design of the programme had support from the University’s Disability Services, the Students Union Autism Group and the local CAMHS team. Many students, moving away from home for the first time, find themselves having to cook, clean and shop for themselves, in addition to being responsible for their own time management. Poor executive functioning is a very common autistic trait, so these self-initiated, self-motivated tasks are even harder still.

The programme was designed to offer a range of activities such as living in halls of residence, academic taster sessions, shopping, cooking, and group social activities such as esports, a climbing wall and film night. In the evaluative phase of this residential the young people spoke about how the experience had made them feel more confident about applying to University. Also, how the supportive environment enabled them understand more about University life, within the confines of short residential experience. Unfamiliar environments and situations can be challenging for autistic young people and result in strong feelings of anxiety. This programme worked towards supporting these students to consider how they may make informed choices about their futures, whilst building confidence and resilience.

To read more about the award please visit - Social Inclusion Staff Award (warwick.ac.uk)

Fri 24 Jun 2022, 10:14 | Tags: WPnewsletter