Ten students from Options Barton, have been taking part in the weekly music sessions. The sessions have been fun and informative, introducing students to a variety of music styles and instruments. Students have been learning about different cultures through music, and have learnt to play the drums. The students are currently working on a project themed around Peter and the Wolf, which has involved using woodwind instruments.
Options’ newly appointed autism ambassador, Anna Kennedy OBE, visited Options Higford earlier this week to meet with staff and people the service supports.
Options Higford is a specialist autism service for children and young people aged 8-19 with autistic spectrum conditions. The school helps every pupil reach their individual potential by providing primary and secondary education in an autism-friendly environment.
Options, part of the Outcomes First Group, provides specialist services for approximately 700 children and young adults across England and Wales with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) and learning disabilities. The company offers a pathway which is unique within the sector, providing support to individuals at any stage of their life.
Anna has to date worked closely with the autism services with Outcomes First Group and is now extending her role across the services within the group.
Anna, who has two autistic sons, founded autism-specialist school Hillingdon Manor and has also established her own autism awareness charity. The charity, Anna Kennedy Online, provides support and advice about autism-related issues to thousands of parents and carers and promotes inclusion and equality for those with the condition.
Options Higford head of service, Graham Norris, gave Anna a tour of the service, which included the service’s water play room and sensory room.
Outcomes First Group chief executive officer, Graham Baker, said Anna Kennedy’s appointment is an exciting one for the group.
He said: “We are very pleased to welcome Anna to the wider group, her values and wealth of experience will add real value to our expanding organisation.”
Anna said: “I’m really excited about my new role with Options and to continue to do what I have been doing for years, which is raising awareness and ensuring that people with autism are accepted for who they are.
“It’s so important that all of us who are involved with and affected by autism should continue to fight hard and make our voices heard in improving educational and other resources for individuals, their families and carers.
“It was fantastic to visit Options Higford this week and I can’t wait to support the excellent work that Options does throughout its services and to get involved in future campaigns and projects.”