World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day taking place on 2 April every year. In the week of 1 – 7 April surrounding this day, we encourage all of our schools and trainees to take part in World Autism Awareness Week – a full seven days where people across the UK take part in activities to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society. The fundraising event set up by the National Autistic Society (NAS) encourages people to donate to help fund campaigns that work to enrich the lives of those with autism.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. This can mean they see, hear and feel the world differently to others. Autism is on a spectrum, meaning the condition will affect individuals in different ways. Some autistic people, for example, also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions.
The following are some statistics that highlight who this week is aimed to support;
- There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100.
- 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.
- At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support
- Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work
- 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48% of these had been suspended three or more times; 4% had been expelled from one or more schools
You can find out more about Autism Awareness Week plus how to get involved by visiting the National Autistic Society on its website.