A student at West Hatch High School in Chigwell has received a special award from The National Autistic Society for providing help and support to her sister and two friends.
Sarah Wilson, 14, from Woodford Green, who was nominated as Awesome for Autism, was recognised for her kindness when she attended the society’s 50th birthday reception at Speaker’s House in Parliament.
Sarah, a Year 10 pupil at the High Road school, spends much of her spare time caring for her sister, Emily, who has autism, along with Emily’s two friends, Jaspreet, who has autism and Down’s syndrome, and Laura, who has learning difficulties.
Jaspreet’s mum, Barinder Mudhar, nominated Sarah for all the hard work she puts into looking after the girls.
Over the last few years Sarah has taken them on various outings, from bowling to music concerts.
Barinder said: “Sarah has taken on the role of unofficial carer for the group, accompanying them on their trips out and about.
“She is a lovely young woman who is kind and caring and the girls adore her.
“I nominated her because I feel she deserves recognition for all that she does at such a young age.”
Sarah said: “I really enjoy spending time with Emily, Jaspreet and Laura, 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.
“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.
“Growing up with Emily has made me much more patient and has inspired me to become a teacher at a school for children with autism in the future.”
Sarah added: "It was a real honour to be invited to the Speaker’s House.
“We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. It was also amazing to meet Jane Asher who is president of the organisation."