Students lead the way in celebrating autism awareness
STUDENTS at Anglesea Primary School have rallied together to put World Autism Awareness Day on the calendar.
Last month students, staff and parents wore yellow in support of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) after the idea was voiced by a grade two student and approved by Junior School Council (JSC).
Principal Murray Surkitt said the school has been focusing on diversity prior to the student-led celebration.
“The day was about spreading awareness and kindness which is one of our school values so we thought it would be a good fit,” he said.
“Once the Junior School Council decided to run with the idea, they came to me with the proposal and we supported it.
“As a result, we had almost the entire school in yellow.”
ASD is a lifelong neurodevelopment condition that can affect how a person thinks, acts and communicates with others at varying levels.
The JSC behind the successful event is a part of Anglesea Primary School’s leadership program, where all grade six students are given a role, with three then chosen for the executive positions.
Executive members of the JSC meet with Mr Surkitt to plan meetings which are run with members of staff and two representatives from each class.
“We encourage the students to come up with ideas, have a think about it and put a proposal together to take to the JSC as a democratic exercise then we can look at implementing them,” he said.
“We try to leave it up to them and promote responsibility which is another one of our school values. We want to teach students to be responsible members of the community and if they can do something to improve the community then we will support it.”
During the day, an assembly was held where a short child-friendly video was played to give students and staff a better understanding of ASD.
“The idea of the video was to show everyone if diagnosed with autism what it means and to help them understand what it is like to live with this condition,” Mr Surkitt said.
Along with celebrating World Autism Awareness Day, the JSC has started working towards other ways to promote diversity and kindness throughout 2021.
“This year they have planned some exciting activities including raising funds for Geelong Animal Welfare Society (GAWS) and to have our Acknowledgement of Country engraved and displayed within the school,” he said.