Hillary Oughton Hollingsworth, Nadia Finnan and Heidi Zieg from @eastglendaloughschool will represent Wicklow at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Finals tomorrow (Friday, May 14). The teenage entrepreneurs were thrilled to win the Senior Category of the @localenterprisewicklow competition back in March for their book ‘Simple Signposts’.
‘Simple Signposts’ was created for children with autism to help them deal with social situations and scenarios in primary school. It is a book of social stories which are a tool to help children on the autistic spectrum in social situations. There are 16 social stories based around a school environment.
Nadia Finnan explains why they came up with the idea: “We noticed over the years the stigmatism and lack of awareness and understanding of autism. We thought that by creating a resource for children in a school environment more understanding could be brought to their condition. My hopes in creating a book for children on the autism spectrum is that I create more awareness and understanding about the condition. The book will be a success if it even helps one child.”
The aim of the book is to achieve awareness of autism and have a book that children on the autism spectrum can read. The East Glendalough school girls had been affected or known someone affected by autism in some way and wanted to create awareness. Some of them had seen first-hand how stressful it is for parents to try to find resources to help their children.
One in 54 children attending primary schools in Ireland are on the autistic spectrum. The girls believe it is important to help everyone understand and learn about difference. The world for children with autism is often unclear, unstructured and highly stressful.
The girls are donating some of their profits to the autism charity ASIAM – Ireland’s National Autism Charity. They plan to sell their books to libraries, primary schools, special schools and parents with young children with autism who are struggling.
For more information on the book:
Since the @StudentEnterpriseProgramme began in 2003, over 220,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. The Student Enterprise Programme also has new range of online resources for 2020/2021 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.