Launched by the National Autistic Society (NAS) on Monday (April 27), the initiative offers resources catering for learners from nursery through to secondary.
It is all part of the charity’s My World campaign, which will also offer those signing up a welcome pack and fortnightly emails with further advice and useful tools to help support students.
The campaign is being supported by NAS Young Campaigner Christopher Boyd Harris, 16, from Frederick Bremer School in east London, and his teaching assistant Ayesha Choudhury, who both appeared in Channel 4 documentary Educating the East End last year.
More than 1 in 100 people in the UK have autism, a life-long condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to others, as well as how they make sense of the world.
However, autism training is not mandatory for teachers and an NAS survey last year found that 43 per cent of young people with the condition felt their teachers didn’t know enough about it.
Christopher said: “Last year, whenever there was a noise in the classroom I became aggressive to the point of kicking chairs, leaving the classroom and slamming doors. Ms Ayesha helped me focus on my own learning and not so much on what was going on around me. Now I can handle it more.
“Ms Ayesha’s been supporting me since year 7. She’s really helped me and my friends through a lot of ups and downs. We’re doing exams soon and she’s trying her best to prepare us so it doesn’t seem so daunting. We feel very lucky to have her supporting us and I hope that other students are fortunate enough to benefit from someone so understanding.”
Ms Choudhury added: “The NAS teaching resources can give teachers an insight into the world of autism, which alongside specialist training, will help them give students the best possible support.”
Mark Lever, NAS chief executive, said that everyone in the school community has a role to play in supporting children with autism.
He added: “But as each child on the autism spectrum is different, one approach simply won’t work. Our campaign tries to address this by offering school staff free access to the NAS range of autism-specific school resources, the most extensive in the UK, as well as fortnightly emails full of guidance related to the time in the school year. We hope this will build school staff’s understanding of autism and give them tips and strategies on how they can make a positive difference.”
To register for My World, visit www.autism.org.uk/myworld CAPTION: Autism-aware: Campaigner Christopher Boyd Harris, 16, pictured with his teaching assistant Ayesha Choudhury (Photo: National Autistic Society)