Marking Autism Awareness Day and Week in the classroom

2019-04-02

With an increase in media coverage and celebrities speaking about being on the autism spectrum, creating awareness in your classroom has never been more important. 


As the spotlight is shone on this area of SEND, we look at the origins of the Autism Awareness Day and how you can create discussion points about this in your class. 


Autism Awareness Day, 2nd April, is acknowledged internationally and is currently in its twelfth year after being passed by the UN in 2007. 


This year in the UK, the week starting from 1st April will celebrate Autism Awareness Week to encourage more fundraising and attention on the cause.


The theme for this year is ‘Assistive Technologies, Active Participation’, and how many people on the autism spectrum need access to affordable assistive technologies in order to allow them to have the same opportunities when participating in communities and classrooms.


Top tips for teachers

Wearing something blue and pointing this out to your pupils will spark a discussion in the classroom as it is recognised as the official colour to create awareness.


Primary teachers can explain to their pupils what autism is and how they can support their friends. There are also many resources for primary education on the Autism Awareness website, including short videos, PowerPoints and follow-up activities. 


Secondary teachers can have discussions with their pupils about how society can create more awareness and acceptance towards people who are on the autism spectrum. There are also resources for secondary education including an assembly PowerPoint, activities for the classroom and videos from famous young people who pupils will recognise.


Another way primary teachers and secondary teachers can create awareness is through fundraising, a class bake sale, non-uniform day or sporting event are great for raising money. 


You can follow up your fundraising by explaining to your students how the money they have raised is spent on supporting those on the autism spectrum.


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