Focus Surrey is creating professionals to work with children with SEN
Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Louise Simon didn't know what area to pursue as a career until she started volunteering at Focus Surrey - she is now in her 2nd year of Speech and Language Therapy at uni
I started volunteering at Focus Surrey to try something new and get out of my comfort zone. I was 17 at the time, very anxious and found it really difficult to talk to new people. Everyone at Focus was so friendly and supportive that I felt comfortable right from the start. I didn’t need persuading to come back and ended up volunteering three terms in total, as well as helping out in two fundraising events, and continuing to stay in touch during my time at university. I chose to do a degree in Speech and Language Therapy - a career I had never heard of before volunteering at Focus!
"I chose to do a degree in Speech and Language Therapy- a career I had never heard of before volunteering at Focus!"
Focus was and continues to be a fantastic place for people to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder; volunteers are trained, educated and supervised in supporting the children who attend the Saturday Club. However, the main priority is always for the children to have fun and socialise in an environment filled with acceptance, open-mindedness and lots (and I cannot stress this enough, LOTS) of toys.
Too often people don’t take the time to understand the challenges disabled people have to overcome in a world that doesn’t always accommodate their needs, and this is one of the key issues I want to face in my career as a Speech and Language Therapist. As important as it is to support people with communication difficulties in communicating their wants and needs effectively, it is equally important and essential to educate those around them in understanding disability and accepting that every person is unique and has specific needs that must be acknowledged and accommodated.
I have a lot to thank Focus for, it guided me towards an amazing career and helped me transition from an unambitious person into a sociable, optimistic and hard-working person! I hope I gave to the children and their families as much as I gained from volunteering, and cannot thank the children enough for attending the club, playing and sharing with us. Learning about autism or any disability through research and educational sources is undoubtedly useful, but the absolute best educators are the disabled community who can show and tell us what it is like for them to experience the world and how we can all make it a better place for everyone.
If you would like to volunteer for Focus Surrey in September 2021 you can register here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Focus2021
If you would like to volunteer with fundraising, grant writing, marketing, photography, administration or any of the other vital jobs that help Focus Surrey run, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org