Congratulations to CBS Transition Year student Jamie Finnegan who won second place in the Social and Behavioural Intermediate Individual category with his project ‘Are students from national schools with autism centres more empathetic to students with ASD’.
Jamie carried out an in-depth investigation into the varying rates of empathy towards Autistic students by students who have attended a primary school with and without an Autism centre and or Autistic students. Jamie was inspired to carry out the project as a result of the Edmund Rice Centre in the CBS: ‘I decided to do this project as my secondary school, CBS Roscommon opened a specialist Autism Unit, the Edmund Centre four years ago so that students in Roscommon who have ASD can be educated alongside their peers. There are private classrooms, occupational therapy and sensory rooms. At certain times throughout the day, students in the Autism Centre go to normal classes and are educated in the mainstream with their peers.’
‘Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and non-verbal communication and social interaction. Empathy is defined simply as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I conducted my investigation by giving a survey consisting of a questionnaire to a group of male and female 1st year students in my town who have just left primary school.’
Jamie’s findings were in-depth, and included the assessment that ‘integration of students with ASD into the mainstream education system is completely beneficial to everyone in society, not only increasing our empathy but also our inclusivity and lack of judgement.’
Jamie received his prize at the awards ceremony which was hosted by TG4’s Roisin Ni Thomáin and broadcaster Aidan Power. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is the largest event of its kind in Europe and one of the largest school science fairs in the world and the CBS is delighted to maintain its long association with the competition. Many thanks also to Jamie’s teacher Ms Breege Grennan for her ongoing support and encouragement.