Get involved in World Autism Awareness Week

Published: Monday 27th March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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This week is World Autism Awareness Week. From today until Sunday, pupils across the country will learn about the condition and how to fundraise.

According to The National Autistic Society (NAS), autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also influences how they experience the world around them.

In the UK, at least 1 in 100 people have autism. This means that it is highly likely that there are several autistic people at your local school.

Around 700,000 people in the country are on the autistic spectrum. The result is that autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people if you include families of those who have it.

In most cases, parents will notice symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when their child is around two or three years of age.

If you have concerns, we strongly urge you to visit your GP. They will then refer you to a health professional if appropriate, specialising in diagnosing ASD.

Why this week is important

Often people with autism are treated differently. This hostility can lead to unhappiness, social isolation and even mental illness. By educating children in schools, they will grow up able to accept and empathise with autistic people.

World Autism Awareness Week encourages teachers and pupils to learn about autism. Using fun, imaginative activities and lessons, schoolchildren gain a deeper understanding of the condition on its many levels.

Pupils are also encouraged to plan fundraising activities, as well as take part in them. Whether it’s a bake sale, sponsored silence or fun run, every penny helps to change the lives of those with autism.

Fundraising is vital for NAS, as its Autism Helpline relies entirely on donations.

The week will also help to spread the word about why understanding and accepting autism is so important.

Activities in local schools

Bridgeview Whitehouse School on Pickering Road in Hull is putting on an open afternoon on Wednesday for parents and carers to attend.

This will involve a visit from the Hull and East Riding branch of NAS, plus some other relevant local charities.

As well as fundraising through games, raffles and bake sales, videos of the pupils will be shown. These videos include snippets of what autism means to the children of the school.

Each class has been extremely busy in the weeks leading up to World Autism Awareness Week. In art sessions, they have been making “We are an autism friendly school” banners to put up in their classrooms.

Also this week, teachers at Bridgeview will follow up with lessons to help the pupils gain a wider understanding of autism.

Activities in the local area

Newly opened Rock Up, the rock climbing centre in St Stephen’s, is getting involved by running autism friendly sessions this Friday at 11:30am, 12:30pm and 4:30pm.

The team will assist children in the soft play and climb areas as they build their confidence and challenge their bodies.

The environment will be calmer and climbers can go at their own pace. Rock Up will also provide a quiet space, which proves popular with people with autism.

Fun Station, also on the Terrace in St Stephen’s, is running autism friendly laser tag and bowling sessions. These start on the hour and half hour between 9am-11am and 2:30pm-4:30pm this Friday.

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Published: Monday 27th March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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