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Brave teen launches
guide for students

A new online autism guide for schools, parents and students has been created by a 19-year-old who has Aspergers.

Adam Harris has created the support to help people with the condition deal with the major challenges they face, especially at the beginning of the new school year.

The Back to School Survival Guides have been launched on the website www.AsIAm.ie and are aimed at helping people with autism to deal successfully with the isolation, anxiety and sometimes bullying that can accompany their annual return to school.

supportive

"We hope this school programme will make everyone involved aware of the practical day-to-day challenges people with autism face in school," said Adam.

"We want to start a discussion on how we can build a more inclusive and supportive environment for those on the Autism spectrum."

Adam, who has Aspergers which is on the autism spectrum, described it as like "being sent into outer space, to a far off distant planet, a world not built for you".

"You find it very difficult to cope with your surroundings - noises, smells and textures you're not used to and which seem to affect you more severely than anyone else," he said.

Sally Maguire, the former president of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, pointed out that "most teachers in mainstream schools have received no training in the challenges of students with autism and therefore do not know how best to support them".

She added: "This is particularly difficult in large classes which may include students of mixed abilities, students with other special educational needs and some for whom English is not their first language."

csheehy@herald.ie


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