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World Autism Awareness Week 2021 – 12 of the best resources and teaching tools for KS1/2

  • World Autism Awareness Week 2021 – 12 of the best resources and teaching tools for KS1/2

When is World Autism Awareness Week?

World Autism Awareness Week 2021 takes place from 29 March to the 4 April.

What is World Autism Awareness Week?

World Autism Awareness Week seeks to give a voice to the many people on the autistic spectrum. Around one in every 100 people are somewhere on the spectrum, which is approximately 700,000 people in the UK, both adults and children.

The week aims to highlight the various social, economic, health and educational obstacles that many of these people face, and raise funds for various causes that seek to help with these issues.

1 | Covid-19 and autism back to school resources

This past year has been tricky for all students, so for some children with autism the transition back to the classroom may come as a bit of a culture shock.

Thankfully, the Autism Education Trust’s Back-to-School and Covid-19 Information Centre is here to help you through it.

There is a Tools for Teachers Covid-19 edition booklet and a wealth of support materials including two detailed case studies with practical planning tools, impact assessment and sensory profiles.

All of its Covid-19 content is free to access and download. The Tools for Teachers resource normally cost £40 for individuals and £150 for organisations but, in response to the circumstances, we have created a complementary collection of 6 tools that we think you will find most helpful in the current situation.

Check it all out here.

2 | Autism awareness tools for teachers

And if you’re looking to improve your knowledge on supporting children with autism then the Autism Education Trust also has this great collection of bite-sized learning tips for teachers for you to learn something new about autism every day.

These short, accessible extracts from the Trust’s most-popular resources cover a range of topics using practical tools, videos and one-page PDFs to help you better support children and young people on the autism spectrum.

Give it all a look here.

3 | World Autism Awareness Week resources and fundraising

Over at the National Autistic Society website you’ll find everything you need to help raise awareness and funds with family and friends, at home or in school.

There’s also an autism awareness quiz to download, and a section for school resources too.

Check it all out here.

4 | Why autism goes unseen in girls and how you can spot the signs

Signs of autism can often be masked by girls to fit in, feel safe and gain acceptance – but it takes a heavy toll for those on the spectrum, says Sarah-Jane Critchley.

In this article she explains how girls can sometimes evade an autism test or diagnosis, how autism symptoms can vary and might not be obvious and why masking the condition can have profoundly negative effects on girls on the autism spectrum.

Find out more here.

5 | Girls with autism – 10 things one pupil wants teachers to know

And for a more-personal take on the topic, 12-year-old Libby Scott pens a letter to her teacher in this article, all about the things she wishes they knew about how her diagnosis affects her at school, from how to best make her feel calm and at ease to the absolute worst way to deal with her in the classroom.

Read her thoughts here.

6 | What it’s like to be a girl with autism, and what it’s like to parent one

“I am asked, often, if I wrote The State of Grace because I am the parent of an autistic teenager, or because I was an autistic teenager many years ago, before anyone had heard of Asperger’s Syndrome. The answer, I think, is both.”

Rachael Lucas knows exactly what it’s like to be a student with autism, and to be a parent of one, and here she offers up her unique perspective.

Give it a look here.

7 | How to develop the social skills of learners with autism KS1/KS2 lesson plan

In this primary lesson plan, Lynn McCann explains how regular lunchtime or after school ‘board game clubs’ can, if organised and structured appropriately, do much to bring children with autism and their peers together, and improve the social skills of the group as a whole.

Download it here.

8 | Sixteen simple changes you can make to help pupils with autism learn

A tweak to your classroom or daily routine can bring huge learning benefits, says Lynn McCann…

Making your classroom environment simpler can have a calming effect on all children, but especially autistic pupils who are easily overloaded and distracted by the multitude of sensory messages.

They can find it difficult to know what to filter out, and those with hypersensitivities can find a ‘normal’ amount of noise, smell, touch or movement painful.

Others may need extra movement or other sensory input just to feel grounded in the space they are in.

So, here, Lynn McCann offers some ideas that may help.

Give the list a look here.

9 | Seven ideas to make storytime more engaging for learners with autism

This short video from Beyond Autism features seven simple ideas about how to help instil a love of reading and make story time engaging and fun.

10 | How to make your school less threatening for pupils with autism

Pupils on the autism spectrum can find the mainstream classroom environment confusing and challenging, but what about the rest of the setting?

Schools aren’t usually designed for autistic pupils, and shared spaces can be just as difficult to navigate as the classroom itself.

It may not be possible to redesign your entire school, but some simple adjustments can make a big difference.

So, here, Victoria Honeybourne offers some tips for putting autistic pupils at ease when in school, but outside the classroom.

Read her advice here.

11 | How autism affects girls and their social relationships

While autism is generally defined as someone who also has a learning disability, typical traits of ASC include difficulties making or keeping friends, lack of empathy, likes routine and dislikes change, not affected by peer pressure, monotonous speech, avoidance of eye contact and poor coordination amongst others.

Here, Felicity Sedgewick explains how while the landscape of female friendships can be tough to negotiate for anyone, that girls with Autistic Spectrum Condition often have the wrong map altogether.

Read her advice here.

12 | Make your PE lessons better for children with autism

Adele Devine shares 10 supports that can go a long way towards making PE lessons more inclusive for students with autism.

Read them all here.

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