STUDENTS from our schools and further education college came together for a special sensory walk to celebrate the end of term.

Autistic children and young people from each school overseen by the North East Autism Society (NEAS) gathered together for the walk, which took place at Thornbeck College, in Newton Aycliffe.

Staff at Thornbeck decided to hold the sensory walk and fun day ahead of our upcoming Walk for Acceptance event, which will return to Herrington Country Park on April 22 after a two-year absence.

Nicola Dunn, vice principal of the college, said: “Because the Walk for Acceptance is taking place during the Easter holidays, it meant that a lot of our learners wouldn’t be able to take part – at least, not through their school and in their classes.

We wanted to do something similar they can be part of, and something that would really let us celebrate our learners, and to come together for the first time in a long while.
It’s been lovely to get so many of our students here from all our different schools. It’s been a brilliant morning, especially considering the weather we’ve had lately! Everyone has really been enjoying themselves.

More than 100 students came from all over the North-East, including from Aycliffe School, Thornhill Park School, in Sunderland, Thornbeck College, and the Mackenzie Thorpe Centre, in Teesside.

A variety of sensory activities and traditional fairground games awaited learners at the end of the walk route, including an inflatable obstacle course, sand pits, ball-pools, slime pits, a coconut shy, hook-a-duck, and lots more.

An on-site ice-cream proved very popular, and a ’quiet camping area’ was also set up to offer a low-noise space to support sensory regulation.

Sign up for the Walk for Acceptance