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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Schooldays art win for Laura, 11
A picture of a teacher in classroom
The winning artwork of Laura Rowlands, of Thornwell Primary School
An 11-year-old from Chepstow in Monmouthshire has won an all-Wales art competition inspired by schooldays.

Thornwell primary's Laura Rowlands was "shocked but really pleased" to win the National Autistic Society contest with her picture of a maths lesson.

Children and young people, including some with autism, were asked to produce art on the theme "Why I go to school".

A total of 35 entries were shown at the Welsh assembly and will be at Colwyn Bay Library from 30 June to 13 July.

Laura said she learned a lot from the competition.

"It made me think for the first time about what it must be like for children who have autism.

"Jamie, who was in my class and who is autistic, explained to me all about autism and how it affects his life and his relationships with other children."

A drawing of a boy at a desk in 2006 and as a car mechanic in 2013
Declan Boland's picture

Declan Boland,11, from Rhyl just missed out on winning the competition.

He has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism which affects people's ability to cope in social situations and understand the comments, gestures and intentions of others.

"I'm very happy to be a runner-up, I'm really quite pleased," he said.

"I enjoyed doing the picture, it was quite relaxing.

"It's of where I go to school to get an education and then shows that when I leave school I want to be a mechanic."

Cardiff artist Mark Annis, who also has Asperger syndrome, helped judge the entries.

The National Autistic Society in Wales (NAS Cymru) said it wanted to give pupils a chance to express their own feelings on their future.

Policy officer Liz Withers said: "Now, ministers, Assembly Members and visitors can see the school experiences of young people across Wales," she said.

"It should remind all who come to the building that every child in Wales, including those with autism, deserve the education that is their right."

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