CBS Roscommon decided to go one step further this year’s Autism Awareness month by attempting to break a Guinness world record. The CBS Roscommon, which also incorporates the Edmund Rice Autism Centre, will display the world’s longest blue ribbon on their football pitch today. The ribbon which measures 1555 square metres looks set to smash the record previously held in Dubai. The process will be closely monitored and recorded by Guinness World Record officials as well as independent adjudicators and engineers.
Today’s event is part of the school’s on-going campaign to raise understanding about autism amongst the wider community. The school is unique in offering a tailored mix of both mainstream and specialised education to each of its ASD students. Students can participate in regular classes as well as availing of the state-of- the art-resources in the purpose build centre adjoining the school. The entire school community have already participated in workshops aimed at developing understanding of and empathy towards Autism Spectrum Disorder which has created an inclusive atmosphere within the school. They have found that they no longer define their classmates by ASD but as individuals and friends with a wide variety of qualities and characteristics.
The school was shortlisted for a National Inclusion Award earlier this year for enhancing opportunities to participate in Sport and Physical Activity for those with special needs. Students visit the swimming pool, go to the gym and learn how to use the equipment and participate in PE regularly. They also use the outdoor gym equipment in the centre on a daily basis. To encourage and mentor students, a ‘Buddy System’ has been set up which sees them work in conjunction with Transition Year students.
The Centre has been hugely proactive in getting the local community on board. As well as Autism Friendly cinema and theatre visits, the Edmund Rice Centre has been working with local sports facilities and gyms in providing ASD friendly experiences. reflects the Centre’s ongoing emphasis on physical activity as a key life skill. ‘ The Edmund Rice Centre aims to equip each student with the knowledge, competence and skills necessary to participate in sport and physical activity on an on-going basis. It is a testament to the work that is carried out within the school, and also the support provided by the wider community in allowing our students to enjoy facilities such the gym and the pool on a regular basis. It reflects also on the inclusive atmosphere within the CBS, which sees students of all abilities work together in improving sports and physical skills.’
Transition Year student, Jamie Finnegan also won a BT Young Scientist Social and Behavioural Intermediate Individual category with his project ‘Are students from national schools with autism centres more empathetic to students with ASD’.
Overall, CBS Roscommon is eager to show that Autism Awareness is hugely important in helping to us to look beyond the label of ASD. Autism Awareness helps those with ASD integrate fully with their community and to break down the myths and assumptions associated with ASD.