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At the National Autistic Society, our favourite week of the year is World Autism Awareness Week. This year, it’s taking place from 1-7 April, and we’d love you to get involved too! Just in case you need convincing, here are a few reasons why:

  1. Awareness is not the same as 'being aware'
    We know that 99% of people have heard of autism, which is wonderful news! However, when we talk about awareness, what we mean is being aware of the challenges that autistic people face to create a more autism-friendly world. Just 16% of autistic people and families feel that they are understood, when a few simple steps can go a long way. Making adjustments such as giving extra time to process information or providing it in written formats can help autistic people with processing difficulties. This is an example of being truly aware and understanding of autism.
  2. To support better education for autistic children and young people
    As part of World Autism Awareness Week, we provide schools with a free pack so teachers and pupils can better understand and support their classmates. It’s also an opportunity for schools to reflect on their practices to create an education system that includes autistic children. Inadequate support can lead to anxiety or meltdowns that are often misread as bad behaviour and autistic children are three times more likely to be excluded from school. Taking part in World Autism Awareness Week means that schools are given the opportunity to understand autism, so that their pupils are provided with the best support possible.
  3. 2019's possibly our biggest year yet!
    We’ve got lots of exciting opportunities to transform lives and change attitudes coming up over the next twelve months. The government recently announced a review of the national autistic strategy, which will include children for the first time. This has the potential to improve the lives of the 125,000 autistic children in England – and future generations. 2019 also marks the tenth anniversary of the Autism Act so we’re using the opportunity to identify what’s improved and highlight the remaining gaps to ensure the right support is provided to autistic people and their families. Your support during World Autism Awareness Week will help build a strong foundation for us to make the most of these critical opportunities.
  4. To help us continue to support autistic people and families
    On top of our campaign work, funds raised through World Autism Awareness Week also provide services and training to support autistic people and families directly. This can be through our helplines, which offer support on a wide range of issues, and through our work with professionals to understand autism in their companies. Only 16% of autistic people have a full-time job, and often those in work feel unsupported. Unexpected change and sensory overload can be hugely distressing to autistic people, and we work with employers to create improved working environments through services like the Autism Friendly Award. None of this would be possible without the generosity of our supporters and their networks.
  5. To help create a world that works for autistic people
    We ran some research recently, which found that 79% of autistic people feel isolated. 80% of the population live within 20 miles of one of our 117 volunteer-led branches that provide local advice and support for autistic people and their families. These branches rely on support from the general public, be that through giving time to volunteer or through money to fund opportunities such as youth groups, social groups and coffee mornings across the UK. For many autistic people, social interaction can cause huge anxiety, so taking part in World Autism Awareness Week can help to provide safe spaces and autistic people can be a part of their community.

Now you’ve heard why taking part in World Autism Awareness Week is so important – why not get involved? Sign up to receive our free World Autism Awareness Week pack now:

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