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Autistic young people develop their IT and communication skills

Autistic young people and their families are benefiting from assistive technology and support at Ambitious College, helping them develop their IT and communication skills. 
London Freemasons generously granted Ambitious about Autism £60,000 for the project, which is supporting 90 of our autistic learners here at the college. 

In April last year, Alysia Martindale was appointed to a new Assistive Technologist role, to help improve autistic young people’s access to learning, independence and participation through technology.  

Since joining, Alysia has been using her specialist knowledge in assistive technology to support autistic young people across the college, working in partnership with our teaching and support staff. 

Already young people are benefiting from the extra support and assistance, including 23-year-old Zubair, who attends our North London campus and is non-verbal.  

Thanks to Alysia’s support and additional equipment including a keyboard, he is making huge progress with his IT skills.  

His teacher Fiona Linwood, said:

Zubair has always been a very keen and enthusiastic learner but when he joined us he didn’t use any form of communication. We gradually helped him use symbols and communicate simply through an electronic device.  

Now thanks to Alysia’s support his IT and communication skills have increased massively. He now uses a keyboard alongside his communications device to create emails, using software that helps him to independently check spellings and create full sentences.


Zubair - assistive technology


Our team are working in partnership with families and carers, so we can also understand the technology, learn how to fix problems and to support their child to use it at home. 

Alysia said:

Assistive technology brings huge benefits to young people’s learning and wellbeing. It can help young people easily communicate their needs - such as when they might be feeling hungry or unwell. Knowing this, teaching and support staff can put in place the right support for the young person’s wellbeing and better understand and plan for any potential barriers to learning.

Zubair’s mum Sameena added:

Zubair has always been keen to communicate his needs to us and this scheme has provided him with an incredible opportunity to communicate independently thanks to the support of his dedicated IT teacher Alysia. He is now able to type out certain sentences on his own and can also communicate his wants and needs when using the keyboard at home.  

We are so proud of all the hard work that the staff at Ambitious College and Zubair have put in to help develop his communication skills. Zubair couldn't have received this level of innovative support from any other placement and we are deeply grateful to Ambitious College for always providing him with the highest level of education and support to fulfil his potential as a young autistic adult.

Paul King from London Freemasons, said:

I’m delighted our £60,000 grant is being put to such good use. To be able to help a young person communicate in a way that was previously impossible is a tremendous achievement and can be life-changing for those who are benefitting.