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Formby High School staff and students are joining people from across the country in Walk for Autism

From 26 March to 2 April, staff and students from Formby High School are joining people from all over the country in lacing up their trainers, stretching their legs and completing 10,000 steps per day across eight days as part of this year’s Walk for Autism.

Over the past five years, Autism Initiatives have called upon local fundraisers to join the annual campaign which enables them to add value to vital support for autistic people and their families and increase autism understanding and acceptance.

Formby High School’s SENDCO, teacher, Samantha Warwick said: “Formby High School is a highly inclusive school with an excellent reputation for the support we offer our students with additional needs. Central to our ethos is the acceptance of each student and their individual needs, values and beliefs. This intention was clear when speaking with Abigail, a student taking part, who proudly commented: “I’m taking part as I’m autistic and I think it’s important that people don’t view autistic people as the stereotypes society has set for them, instead they should view people for who they really are.”

“At Formby High we believe that by bringing Walk for Autism to the forefront, we are able to develop an understanding of autism within our school community leading to enhanced acceptance of autism and other neuro-diversities.” The students clearly felt strongly about their participation and another pupil, Ethan, commented, “I think Walk for Autism is important because people need to realise that there are many people around with autism – autism isn’t a disability it’s a gift that should be understood more.”

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Autism Initiatives’ founding, when Liverpool mum Pat Minshull opened a school in Southport for children with autism after struggling to find the right support for her son Peter. Through tireless fundraising and the help of local MP Harold Wilson, Pat tapped into the kindness and compassion of her community to help build a brighter future, not just for her son, but for many more autistic people.

Head of Enterprise at Autism Initiatives, Jon Gordon said: “We want to thank Formby High School for their tremendous efforts. This fundraising campaign is one of the ways for us to we continue Pat’s legacy, alongside our commitment to supporting autistic people in our communities to achieve their ambitions and improve their quality of life. Our hope is that Walk for Autism create a community of like-minded people who will promote understanding everywhere they go.”

Over the course of the 8 days of Walk for Autism the super steppers from Formby High will take on a variety of local walks, including the big FHS Walk for Autism on Friday 1 April with over 50 pupils stepping out through the famous Formby pinewoods nature reserve. The school is aiming to exceed more than a million steps during the campaign which comes to an end on World Autism Acceptance Day, 2 April.

“Formby High is committed to promoting understanding and acceptance about neuro-diversity both within the school and throughout the local community. Walk for Autism has helped to launch this commitment with a week of whole school information and awareness sessions aimed at increasing students’ understanding of autism and neuro-diversity.” To celebrate the third walking day of the campaign students from Formby High School visited Me Cycle Bike Workshop & Café for hot chocolate and refreshments ahead of getting their steps for the day in. Me Cycles is a social enterprise which helps young people with autism to develop skills for both life and work which Formby High work closely with.

The understanding of Autism was truly at the forefront of the students’ thoughts when they visited Me Cycles. Ben said “Some of the most intelligent people on earth, like Albert Einstein, had autism and people need to be aware of the good sides of autism and how it can be a gift.” Another student, Daniel, said “I feel autism is a spectrum and people are differently affected and so there’s no one way to work with autistic people.”

It’s not too late to support the Walk for Autism campaign, you can donate online to help fun autism projects in the UK & Ireland at direct to the campaign or to one of the wonderful walkers taking part.

Walk for Autism

• Walk for Autism UK & Ireland is an annual fundraising campaign run by registered charity Autism Initiatives Group.

• 2022 is the fifth year that Walk for Autism has taken place

• Walk for Autism is a virtual event where people walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day over 8 days finishing on World Autism Acceptance Day (April 2nd)

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