Young Citizen nominee from Woodford Green helps autistic pals

Her time spent caring for her sister and two friends has inspired a Woodford Green teenager to teach children with autism.

Sarah Wilson, 14, of Hillside Avenue, Woodford Green, is in the running for the Exchange Ilford-sponsored Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.

The pupil at West Hatch High School in Chigwell has also been nominated as “Awesome for Autism” in a new campaign run by the National Autistic Society.

Sarah spends time every week caring for her 19-year-old sister Emily, who is autistic, and Emily’s two friends, Jaspreet Mudher, 21, who has autism and Down’s syndrome, and Laura Klein, 19, who has learning difficulties.

With carers, Sarah and the three pals go on outings to bowling, concerts and the cinema with Westfield shopping centre in Stratford a favourite destination.


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Sarah said: “They’re lots of fun and it’s great to see them having a good time and enjoying the same things as other young people.

“They see me as a friend. They’re all like my sisters and I’d do anything for them.”

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The three all went to Little Heath Foundation School in Hainault Road, Little Heath, and soon they will be studying at Havering College.

Sarah said it is important to be patient and calm when communicating with people who are autistic.

She said: “Being the sibling of someone with autism can sometimes be difficult.

“Emily can get anxious very quickly in new places and when meeting new people, but it’s important to me that I’m there for her to calm her down and help her settle into new situations.”

Her mother, Christine, said: “They’ve become a bit of a family. That’s how close they’ve become.

“Most 14-year-olds wouldn’t want to go out with their sister.”

Sarah was nominated for the autism campaign by Jaspreet’s mother, Barinder .

She said: “She is a lovely young woman who is kind and caring, and the girls adore her.”

- Each month, a winner will be selected for the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award, sponsored by Exchange Ilford, and will receive �40 to spend at the Exchange Ilford retailer of their choice.

The overall winner of the award, for people aged 25 and under, will be chosen next year and will receive �400.

To nominate a Redbridge youngster, fill in the coupon below and send it together with a statement to the Recorder explaining, in no more than 150 words, why they deserve to be nominated.

Email entries to alistair.kleebauer@archant.co.uk.

The award runs until December and an overall winner will be announced early next year.

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