Pupils at Hillpark Secondary School are enthralled after being awarded with their Diana awards for their hard work.
The pupils are part of a ‘buddy network’ within the school which sees senior pupils assist pupils with autism in the school.
Some 17 buddies were delighted to receive Diana awards in the last school session for being champion volunteers and five of them were formally presented at the recent Diana Inspire Day at the Emirates Arena.
Another proud moment was when the pupils were recognised by Autism Network Scotland as Autism Champions.
The opportunity to become a volunteer buddy is open to all 5th and 6th year pupils.
Buddies are trained to step outside their own ways of thinking and see life from a different perspective.
One pupil, Bora, said: “Autism is globally represented by the image of a jigsaw.
“Perhaps we too, as a society, fail to see the bigger picture.
“It is important to see beyond the stereotypes and notive what an individual can do as opposed to what they cannot.
“We came into the Language and Communication Resource thinking that we would be teaching the students, however it turned out we too were given many lessons, one of which will remain with us forever — words are not necessary to express emotionm actions speak volumes!”
It isn’t always easy for pupils with autism to feel connected or develop trust as they may have had bad experiences which are hard to get over.
Buddies help with this as well as schoolwork and, at break times and lunches, they run and help out with clubs, play games and just generally have a laugh.
They also help out staff at breaks and lunchtime, watching out for pupils who may struggle.
It is easy in social situations for pupils with autism to get things wrong and become upset or angry, so they look out for triggers to this so they take the pupils away quietly for a walk or a chat.