St Helens Autism Support charity gives children the tools to communicate

Thanks to St Helens Autism Support, primary school children diagnosed with autism have received a tablet device to help them with their everyday
lives.

Formed in 2012, St Helens Autism Support (SAS) is a local charity whose
aims are to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders and to support
diagnosed people and carers in the St Helens area.

Towards  the  end of last year at their annual fundraising ball, a campaign
was  launched  to  make  an iPad or tablet device available in the homes of
every  diagnosed  child in the borough that would benefit from one and make resource  packs  available to teachers, parents and children by Autumn this year to enable the most effective use of apps and the device.

Due  to   the  help of schools, 70 devices to date have been distributed to
children  across  St Helens Primary Schools by the end of the summer term – much to the delight of the recipients.

To  celebrate  the  success  of  the  initiative –  that has seen sponsored
cycling  and  rugby  events  organised  to  fund the tablets – a handful of
youngsters  were  invited  to  receive  their  device  before the Saints vs
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats match and enjoyed complementary tickets to watch the game  with their families.

According  to  research, the consistency provided by tablet devices is easy to  understand  and  comforting, and children find that tapping and sliding motions  are  much  easier  than  typing.  The  iPad puts this comfortable, predictable  teaching  friend  right  in the hands of children with autism, regardless of where they are.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools and Lifelong Learning,
Councillor Jeanette Banks, said: “I would like to congratulate those
involved in delivering this terrific initiative that will have a positive
outcome on the child’s educational needs. The devices can also go wherever the child goes, meaning they have ways to calm, focus, and learn while on-the-go.”