STUDENTS from Autism Unlimited’s school in Christchurch have developed an innovative range of spectrum socks.

Sixth formers at Portfield School came up with the idea to make and sell differently coloured tie-dyed socks which signify their wearer’s emotions.

The students showcased their socks at the Young Enterprise Dorset Trade Fair in April, earning themselves a place in the Showcase Final, held at The Grange School two weeks later.

Teacher Hayley Morris said: “This was the first year we have entered the annual Young Enterprise Competition and everyone wanted to build their company around a product they could enjoy making as a team and that would appeal to, and hopefully help, other people - what better product than gorgeous, brightly coloured socks?”

The idea was inspired by The Zones of Regulation - a globally recognised educational framework which categorises emotions and states of alertness into four colour-coded zones, each representing a different level of emotional intensity and self-regulation.

Hayley added: “For neurodiverse people, who might find it difficult to communicate, the zones can help them to express how they are feeling to others and also to identify tools to manage their emotions.

“Our Spectrum Socks are red, blue, green, and yellow and can be worn as matching pairs, or mixed to signify the wearer has mixed emotions.

"By wearing our socks people can let others know if they are struggling and need support, if they want to be left alone, or if they want to engage.

"They have been a huge success, with orders quickly outstripping supply.

“The enterprise project has also been hugely helpful for our students in enabling them to meet and be inspired by students from other schools, and to take on responsibility and push themselves in their communication and presenting skills.”

The group competed against products from a range of schools across Dorset, with eight schools making it through to the final.

Trophies were presented in different award categories, and the Portfield Sixth Form team all received participation certificates.

Team member Oliver was also thrilled to be presented with the outstanding individual achievement award for his efforts during the process.