Autistic Westfield teenager to walk West Highland Way to raise funds for school which 'changed his life'
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An autistic teenager who couldn’t read or write when he started high school is now fundraising to help his West Lothian school provide more support for pupils like him.
Logan Johnstone from Westfield plans to walk the 97-mile West Highland Way in August with his mother Jennifer Johnstone, and he hopes to reach his £1,000 target to enable Armadale Academy to provide more outdoor learning for him and fellow pupils in the high school’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) unit.
Logan revealed what a difference the unit has made to his life at school and why he is fundraising to provide more outdoor equipment. The 16-year-old said: “I did not have a good time in primary school and it just got harder when I went to my academy.
"I ended up missing a lot of school as I couldn't cope in mainstream, I was struggling so much as I was diagnosed with autism, ADHD, global learning delay and dyslexia, and to top it off, sensory processing disorder. In my third year at the academy the school opened an ASD unit. I was one of the first children in the unit, and after that school got a little bit better for me.
"When I started the unit we did an outdoor learning course which I loved and got so much out of doing it. I would love other children to have the some opportunities as I did but this is hard due to school funding, so me and my mum are going to walk the West Highland way 97 miles from Milngavie to Fort William to try to raise funds for the ASD unit to have their own outdoor learning equipment for other children.”
His proud mum Jennifer revealed the difference the unit, and one learning support teacher in particular, has made to Logan’s life. She said: “I’m very proud of him. School had been a huge struggle for Logan, so for him to suggest doing this is amazing. It’s nice to see him think about other children’s learning and not just his own.
"He was diagnosed late with his autism so he didn’t know where he fitted in with school. He was actually the first student in the autistic unit. There are six kids there now.
"He couldn’t read or write when he started at high school. His learning support teacher, Hannah Dewar, has changed my son’s life in and out of school. Logan has just passed his Nat 5 maths and that’s down to her. He wants to be a blacksmith when he leaves school, and I now think he can achieve that thanks to her support. I wouldn’t have thought that possible before she supported him.”