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Lewisham College held a special event to mark National Autism Week on Wednesday 3 April, celebrating the achievements of students who are on the autistic spectrum, and the contribution they make to the rich life of the College, as well as the issues they face.

Opened by new Principal Asfa Sohail, the Autism Day event saw around 150 students and staff joining together to enjoy quizzes and competitions, music and drama performances, a display of art and delicious refreshments, as well as the chance to buy cakes and hand-made cards.

The event raised £170 for the National Autistic Society, which supports people with autism in education, at work and in the community.

The event also highlighted the important role colleges like Lewisham College play in the lives of people with autism. One of the main problems faced by people on the autistic spectrum is not being able to access education or find the right support to get a job. Only 16 per cent of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32 per cent are in any kind of paid work, while one in three autistic children are excluded from school.

Through our Student Support service, we provide expert support for students with Special Educational Needs, including autism, and also offers a range of Supported Learning courses for students with high needs.

Geoff Saunders, Supported Learning lecturer, said: “It was great to see the whole College getting behind this event and to see so many people coming along to learn more about autism. We have a lot of incredibly warm, funny and bright students on the autism spectrum who have a lot to offer, so it was wonderful for them to have the opportunity to show people what they’re about.”

The event took place during World Autism Awareness Week, which ran from 1 to 7 April.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum (more than one in 100).

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