Inscape computing teacher Tania Brooks has been presented with an Inspirational Educator’s Award for her dedication to improving opportunities for young people with autism.
Inscape is a non-maintained specialist school in Cheadle for pupils aged from five to 19 with autism spectrum conditions and related social communication difficulties.
Tania was nominated for the award presented by the Worshipful Company of Educators following her work to provide students with tailored learning experiences.
Her understanding of autism has enabled her to connect with students and nurture their interests in IT from working with robots and drones, to deconstructing computers – students can test their abilities and develop a broad range of IT skills.
Tania said: “I felt honoured to have won the award, it came as huge surprise.
“All I want is for everyone to achieve what they want out of life, and if I can help in any small way to remove some barriers and convince people that they can do things and anything is possible I will.”
After learning that the majority of people arrested for cyber crimes have some level of special educational needs (SEN) Tania identified an opportunity for change and mentored a team of students through the Cyber Security Challenge UK competition.
The cyber challenge competition, run by Northrop Grunman and Cyber Security Challenge UK, invited teams to play a series of online qualifying rounds involving networking, coding and cyber security.
The students successes in the challenge led to them being invited to attend a neuro diversity into cyber day at the Ministry of Defence site in Shrivenham.
Tania has also been working with Microsoft to support them in extending their ‘Autism and Inclusive Hiring Programme’ to the UK.
This has the potential to massively impact the lives of young people with ASC interested in IT, as research undertaken by the National Autistic Society has identified that only 15 per cent of people with autism are in full-time employment.
Tania places emphasis on students being able to understand how to fix things, as well as how to use them to help prepare students for the future job market. This differentiates her learning style and develops problem solving skills – a real strength of many students with autism.
She has also worked closing with parents and carers to help keep their children safe online.
Tania said: “The students are the inspirational part of the teaching as they show an amazing aptitude at finding creative solutions to any manner of problems.
“I enjoy challenging them and being challenged to think in new ways.
“This ensures that there is never a risk of boredom.”
She added: “Technology is constantly changing and it is a privilege to work with those who are able to look at it from such unique angles.”
Tania was invited to accept her award at a presentation ceremony in London.
For more information about the work that the Together Trust do to support more than 2,600 vulnerable children annually across the North West visit: https://www.togethertrust.org.uk/