WAAW: Carly Ryan performs at the Pink & Purple disco

Today marks the first day of World Autism Awareness Week and the young people at Seashell were determined to make sure the week gets off to a great start with a guest performance from Carly Ryan. Carly, a singer known for her appearances on the BBC3 show Autistic Superstars and her weekly radio show on LDOK Radio, performed a number of hit songs, including The Weather Girls’ classic ‘It’s Raining Men’ for an enthusiastic crowd of both students and staff proving that the sports hall was the place to go this afternoon.

Students loved seeing Carly perform and found the disco a lot of fun. It was a joy to watch and we’re very grateful to Carly for joining us today. And as if that wasn’t enough of a reason to celebrate this event, witnessing the success of another young person with autism can be hugely important for some of our autistic students who are learning about their own skills and ambitions.

World Autism Awareness Week is a vital opportunity to help other people understand more about autism and some of the ways in which they might support autistic people in their communities. But for our students, it’s equally important to make sure they know the value of their own achievements and the positive contributions they can make. By celebrating the achievements of an autistic superstar like Carly Ryan, we want our students to recognise the fact that they are valued and valuable members of their communities – and that, with support, they can work to make their own ambitions a reality.

The college students have elected to raise money for the National Autistic Society through a number of events, including a bake sale and a baby picture quiz. Meanwhile, members of the residential team are holding a pyjama day on April 1st to raise money to support Seashell’s work with children and young adults with autism, and several students following the Autism Support Course have sent out jigsaw letters to other students. This blog will be updated daily with further information and case studies looking at some of our autistic students’ significant achievements in more detail.