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Over the years a lot of good work has been done to raise awareness of autism. Many people are now aware of autism but there is still so much to do to help people really understand the condition and how it impacts people’s lives in so many different ways. World Autism Acceptance Week is our golden opportunity each year to help educate ourselves and our communities about autism and celebrate the achievements of those within the autistic community. It is the National Autistic Society’s 60th anniversary year and they want as many people as possible to fundraise to help create a society that works for autistic people.
“One in 100 children are autistic and you most likely have autistic children in your school. I am sure you appreciate how tough life can be for them.” – Chris Packham’s letter to schools
As always, the National Autistic Society (NAS) is playing a leading role in Autism Acceptance Week in the UK. Their dedicated Autism Awareness Week in schools’ page is packed full of ideas and resources to help make the most of the week. They have put together a range of activities and resources including videos aimed at primary and secondary schools, as well as plans and slides for assemblies.
They encourage you to sign up for World Autism Acceptance Week and tell them what you’ve got planned. If you are keen to take part in a virtual event, you can join Christine McGuinness for our Super 60 challenge – they have 60 fundraising ideas to get you feeling inspired. From running, walking or cycling to creating art, music or food – choose anything to the theme of 6, 60, 600 or push yourself to 600,000 steps! Take a look at our Super 60 Challenge pack for more ideas and sign up now.
Then they’ll celebrate the end of the week with their much-loved Spectrum Night Walk – London and Manchester 2nd April if you can make it in person.
Earlier this year the IncludED Team launched a new resource, IncludED In Your Classroom. This series of information posters with linked web pages that provide additional information and resources cover a range of topics including Supporting Autistic Learners in Your Classroom.
Look, Think, Do is a photo-based resource for pupils with social and communication needs. This visual resource is divided into four key sections: Learning to Play; Learning to Say; Learning to Change; Learning to Help Myself. Editable storyboards bring difficult situations to life in a non-threatening manner and enable pupils to discuss solutions and strategies, and alternative and ideal endings.
For those of you with an LGfL Let’s Get Digital subscription, you also have access to our Widgit portal with a searchable database of over 15,000 symbols and over 1000 ready-made, symbolised texts, and activity packs.
The Autism Education Trust World Autism Awareness Week Page has lots of links to helpful guides, standards and frameworks to support learners, schools and parents.
Learning Through Movement is an LGfL training resource that looks at the importance of movement to support learning. The resource has units covering, maintaining focus/movement breaks, supporting handwriting, creating sensory circuits and providing interventions ; all areas which can be highly relevant to our learners who are on the autistic spectrum.
Another LGfL resource, Multisensory Learning has a focus on physical and sensory needs. The resource provides a range of videos, PowerPoint slide presentations and other helpful information to help staff understand the sensory needs of young people and practical ways you can help meet those needs.
Here are a few books on the subject of Autism:
The Autistic Brain – Temple Grandin and Richard Panek
The Reason I Jump: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism – Naoki Higashida
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism Dr Barry Prizant
Check out the hashtag #ActuallyAutistic to get the most valid insight you can from the people who know autism best. As a starting point,we highly recommend following Dr Pooky Nightsmith on Twitter and Kerry’s Autism Journey on Facebook. Make the most of World Autism Acceptance Week and share what you get up to with us on Twitter or Facebook #AutismAcceptanceWeek
This blog has been edited from a previous blog posted in 2021.