A language unit in a Glasgow primary school is appealing for public votes to support their bid to the One Family Foundation for a £25,000 award which would enable the creation of a multisensory room for children with communication support needs, including autism.
The St Charles’ Language and Communication Unit is one of only two Scottish entries to reach the final 12 nominations from across the UK for the award.
The school would use the award to convert an unused classroom in the Kelvinside primary into a multisensory room and safe space which would be used primarily for the pupils within the unit, but would also give access to pupils within the mainstream primary school where the unit is based. No facility currently exists for pupils within the unit and is desperately needed.
The nondenominational unit supports children who live across the north of Glasgow. It can accommodate up to 24 pupils from primary 1 to 3 who have a variety of additional support needs in speech, language and communication, including autism.
The award application and vote appeal is being coordinated by Lizanne Conway, mother of a primary 2 pupil, Rudy, from the unit.
Rudy was diagnosed with autism when he was just four-years-old, after a long and complex journey to diagnosis. Starting school was a huge step, but knowing he was going to be supported in a specialist unit in St Charles’ was such a relief to his mother and has been a fantastic start for Rudy.
However the school day can be tough for children like Rudy. The most unlikely and likely moments can be stressful from coping during playtime, or being given a new reading book, to big events like a school outings or school celebrations - which can all trigger huge anxiety, often only released once home.
A room like this in school can provide some respite during the school day, allowing children to restore themselves, regain control and simply relax. By having these restorative breaks in school, children are less likely to have such a pressure build up and therefore cope better both in and out of class.
Ms Conway said: “These children face severe challenges in school and often struggle to cope socially and emotionally, which is why such a facility would be an absolute dream come true for all involved in the school community.”
Safe space UK and SpaceKraft UK will fully design and install the state of the art equipment in the room, which will become a safe haven for the pupils to learn better coping skills and develop a sense of calm at school.
The OneFamily Foundation is a unique customer benefit fund, provided by mutual, OneFamily, which has committed to make £5million available to its members over the next five years to make their lives and communities better. Although only OneFamily members can nominate a community project for funding, the public are encouraged to show their support via an online vote, with winning projects being those that secure the most votes.