Autistic students show increased confidence at summer fair

LVS Hassocks summer fair. Picture: Susi Doherty Vervate
LVS Hassocks summer fair. Picture: Susi Doherty Vervate
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Students with autism enjoyed a festival atmosphere at the LVS Hassocks Summer Fair on Friday, with demonstrations of new-found confidence by taking to the stage to perform music, dance and comedy routines.

There were also awards given to mark achievement and development throughout the past academic year at the Sayers Common school for young people aged eight to 19 with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.

The traditional end to the summer term at LVS Hassocks allows students to sing or dance at the celebration when a year ago they would not have been able to stand up in front of an audience.

Students manned their own stalls in the school field, talking to customers as they made and sold smoothies and cakes, giving them valuable experience in communication, handling money and practicing being in a customer service role.

Former learners Gregor, Matthew and Toby were delighted to return to be part of the event.

Matthew’s mum Isabelle Garnett said: “There are some fantastic teachers here and Matthew loves the school.

“It means the world to me to see him so happy again, it is a very special day.”

One performer who lit up the stage was Tom Walker, who has been at the school for a year and made his first appearance on stage as he sang and played the drums having introduced the performance over the microphone.

His mother Annie Hargreaves said: “I have really enjoyed watching Tom perform. We have seen a big difference in him since he came to LVS Hassocks as he has improved so much and really blossomed. He has grown in confidence and matured.”

Academic awards were given out on a day which showcased the amazing development of learners over the past year in terms of progress, achievement, confidence and wellbeing.

LVS Hassocks raised £690 from the event, with many contributions coming through the ‘Soak The Teacher’ stall.

The day was finished by learners emptying buckets of water over head teacher Terry Kelly and assistant head teacher Rachel Smith.