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Charity treats special needs children from Croydon to first ever theatre trip

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PUPILS with speech and language difficulties were treated to a trip to remember thanks to a special needs charity.

Happy Days paid for 19 children from Aerodrome Primary Academy, in Waddon, to go to the theatre for the first time in their lives.

The pupils, from the school's speech and language unit, were treated to a meal at Pizza Express last Wednesday before watching The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End.

"They were so taken aback by it all," said Hannah Kiernan, a specialist teaching assistant at Aerodrome.

"A lot of them are from very under-privileged backgrounds and would never have this opportunity; we took them to the cinema a couple of months ago and the majority of them had never been before.

"They were fascinated by what was going on at the theatre and, considering it was their first time, they were really well behaved."

The pupils were set tasks based around The Lion King in the week leading to the trip, which the school hopes will help develop their communication skills.

Happy Days provides outings and respite breaks for children with special needs. Since 1992 it has helped more than 166,000 children.

The pupils at Aerodrome were between three and ten-years-old and have disabilities such as cerebral palsy and autism.

Maxine Whitmore, a speech and language therapist at the school, said: "It was a brand new experience for the children involved. You could see in their faces just how excited they were.

"The musical itself featured all sort of things that will support their learning. It was an experience they are not likely to forget." 

Charity treats special needs children from Croydon to first ever theatre trip


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