Celebrating support and success during Autism Awareness Week

4 April 2024

At Coleg Gwent, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment where every learner can thrive. As we celebrate Autism Acceptance Week, we want to shine a light on the incredible dedication and impact of support staff like Rhys Lewis and Stacey Godwin, who demonstrate our college’s values of respect, integrity, and inclusivity. 

Since September, Rhys and Stacey have been instrumental in supporting Kate, an Autistic learner from our Torfaen Learning Zone campus. Their dedication and innovative approaches have not only helped Kate continue her studies but have also empowered her to flourish in ways she once found difficult. 

When Kate first started studying at college, she often became overwhelmed and shut down. Through their roles as Autism Coach and Greenroom Co-ordinator, Rhys and Stacey began working with Kate and helped create a comfortable space for her to study as well as finding ways to support her emotionally.  

One of the key strategies they introduced was journaling. At first, Kate was hesitant, but she soon found journaling to be an essential tool for managing her thoughts and feelings. With Stacey’s guidance and support, Kate now confidently uses her journal and even has a positive thoughts page to navigate difficult days. 

As well as giving Kate the tools she needed to manage her shutdowns, Rhys and Stacey also looked at how to create a study space for Kate that met her needs. Kate explained that sitting on the floor was more comfortable, so with support from the library team, purchased specialised floor mats and a portable table for her. These mats are now available for other learners to use too. 

Although Kate has come a long way, Rhys and Stacey are now looking at ways to provide support for her outside of college. Rhys and Stacey have enlisted the help of external agencies to ensure she receives the support she needs at home. Additionally, Stacey has helped Kate secure a volunteering role, providing continuity and stability during half terms. 

Here at Coleg Gwent, we’re committed to creating an inclusive environment for Autistic learners and staff that is welcoming and supportive. Promoting diversity and inclusion not only benefits our Autistic students but also enriches the learning experience for everyone 

As we celebrate Autism Acceptance Week, let us not only raise awareness but also celebrate the achievements and contributions of individuals like Rhys, Stacey, and Kate.  

Discover the support available to Autistic learners at Coleg Gwent here, or come along to one of our upcoming open events to meet our support staff. 

To register visit