Eve McLaren pictured above with her dog Bear.
College can be a challenging environment for those with autism, but it can also be a place where they thrive and build their confidence and self-esteem.
Borders College Animal Care student Eve McLaren is one such student who has grown in confidence since attending college, and it’s been a great year for her after winning the Young Achiever Award and appearing on Children in Need.
It’s a huge achievement for the 16-year-old from Galashiels, having been diagnosed with autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia, and she hopes to continue to build on her success through her studies.
Eve’s love of animals, in particular her dogs Odie and Bear, was one of the deciding factors for her enrolling on the Introduction to Animal Care course at Borders College.
She recently brought Bear and his agility equipment into college and gave her classmates a demonstration on how to train dogs for agility courses, and her enthusiasm for the course has been a delight for her lecturer Fiona Duff.
“Eve has really grown in confidence since starting at Borders College and it’s great to see her passion for animals reflected in her studies. She has had a very successful year and has helped highlight the challenges faced by those with autism and other conditions that make it hard for people to communicate and interact. Her enthusiasm and commitment are what makes her a delight to teach.”
Talking about her experience of college, Eve said:
“The College has been very supportive of me, and I’ve had several support measures implemented into my studies, which are proving beneficial. The course has been enjoyable for me, as I have a real passion for animals, and being part of the college community has also helped me develop my confidence. I’m looking forward to progressing to the next stage of the Animal Care programme.”
Eve was nominated by her mum for the Young Achievers Award after she took on challenges such as speaking at the RCPCH Conference in front of 500 people, as well as her continuous work in raising awareness of autism.
Appearing on the BBC at the recent Children in Need along with her mum, she spoke of her time at college and talked about the challenges of children with autism and how her dogs have been a comfort to her in difficult times.
Eve’s ambition is to complete her studies at college, and she hopes to one day work for the SSPCA and put her passion into practice.