When Helen, 12, arrived in Year 7 at St Angela’s Ursuline School in East London, she immediately had to look out for her older sister, Michelle, who is on the autistic spectrum. Many of the students already knew Michelle, so they were then interested to find out about her sister. As the sisters look physically different, many questioned their relationship and how Helen was looking after her older sister. This interest put a lot of strain on Helen, just at the time when she was just finding her feet, as a new Year 7 student. She finds the questioning really hard, especially the often negative judgements regarding Michelle’s autism. But Helen ensures that Michelle knows she is loved and will always challenge her to be of her best. Helen has been able to support her older sister both at home and at school, helping Michelle when she has difficulties with other students, counselling her and generally making Michelle much happier at school through her constant encouragement, her willingness to listen and her ability to reason situations through. Helen has taught the adults in the school as she has given us an amazing insight of how to work with Michelle in different ways, how to engage Michelle and how to make Michelle feel even more secure.
What they said: “Helen mirrors Christ’s behaviour every day, which is a remarkable achievement for one so young” - Mark Johnson, Headteacher.