To celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, an education support service run by Sutton Council have arranged six events concluding with a youth-led conference today.
The youth-led webinar will be an opportunity to hear from eight young people from primary, secondary and college students the oldest being 25-years-old.
Rebecca Duffus, is an advisory teacher at Cognus, the service commissioned by Sutton Council to provide education services to mainstream schools and specialist education providers in Sutton.
Duffus, who arranged the festival, wanted to empower autistic individuals by giving them an opportunity to share their own experiences and raise awareness.
She said: “If we’re educating individuals at school, they’re the ones that are going to go on to become future teachers, parents, employers, co-workers.
“If they already understand autism and reasonable adjustments, they can make then hopefully that will make a difference for our future generations.”
Autism resources were sent to schools and Duffus talked on how main characters in books or famous people help autistic young people to feel represented.
She also highlighted the importance of social media and how autistic people are using the platform to spread awareness of the condition.
Pavan, who spoke at the conference, said: “I chose to speak at the youth led conference to help break the stereotypes and misconceptions on languages used about autism.
“When people use the wrong language it makes me feel hurt and isolated.”
Cognus Autism Service is an education support service owned by Sutton Council and focuses on providing inclusive education for young people with social communication difficulties or autism.
Joanna Cassey, Cognus MD said: “It is particularly inspiring to see so many sessions led by young people, who are sharing their experiences and views.”
Autism is a spectrum condition that affects people in various ways including social communication difficulties, repetitive and restrictive behaviour, highly focused interests and extreme anxiety.
This year World Autism Awareness Week is held 28th March to 3rd April and the internationally recognised World Autism Awareness Day is 2nd April.
The National Autistic Society, the leading charity for autistic people and their families celebrates its 60th anniversary year.
Caroline Stevens, National Autistic Society CEO said: “Too often, autistic people and their families are undervalued, misunderstood and face discrimination at school, in the workplace and across society.
“This is why World Autism Acceptance Week is so important. It’s a chance to get society talking about autism and finding out more about what it’s like to be autistic from autistic people.”
This year’s Autism Awareness Week’s theme set by the UN has been in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education.
According to the UN, inclusive education is the key to transformative promise of the Sustainable Development Goals, to leave no one behind.