Jo Swinson local MP for East Dunbartonshire is supporting a nationwide charity challenge to help raise awareness of issues affecting pupils with autism and is calling on all local schools to take part.
The Anderson Schools Challenge is a joint campaign between The National Autistic Society (NAS) and the Anderson Foundation, which asks schools to complete 50 fun and easy tasks in celebration of the NAS' 50th Birthday.
The tasks, which range from fitting 50 items into a Smarties tube to holding an autism-awareness assembly, can be undertaken by 50 individual pupils or a whole class, unless any pupils fancy taking on all 50. The money raised will help the NAS to provide much-needed services and support for people affected by autism across the UK.
Commenting Jo said:
"I'm delighted to be supporting the Anderson Schools Challenge and am calling on all local primary schools to do their bit and help raise awareness of autism.
"School can be a real struggle for many children with the condition, but better understanding among teachers, school staff and other pupils can make a real difference.
"This is a fun and easy way to improve awareness of autism and raise vital funds for the NAS, so that it can continue to support individuals and families across the UK. To sign your school up and find out more visitwww.autism.org.uk/schoolschallenge "
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS, said:
"We're thrilled that Jo is championing this important challenge and encouraging as many schools as possible take part. Autism is more common than most people think – around 1 in 100 people have the condition and it touches the lives of over 500,000 families in the UK. Raising awareness and providing vital support can make a world of different to people with autism and their families."
Mark Anderson said:
"The NAS has been making a difference to the lives of children, adults and their families living with autism for 50 years. The Anderson Foundation Schools Challenge is a campaign designed to push forward autism awareness in schools as well as raising much needed funds for the NAS to continue to provide this essential support."
To sign up to the Anderson Schools Challenge visitwww.autism.org.uk/schoolschallenge
Jo Swinson at the Anderson School Challenge event in Parliament
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
The National Autistic Society is the UK's leading charity for people with autism and their families. Founded in 1962, it continues to spearhead national and international initiatives and provide a strong voice for all people with autism. The NAS provides a wide range of services to help people with autism and Asperger syndrome live their lives with as much independence as possible.
The NAS relies on the support of its members and donors to continue its vital work for people with autism. To become a member, make a donation or to find out more about the work of the NAS, visit the NAS website www.autism.org.uk
For more information about autism and for help in your area, call the NAS Autism Helpline on: 0808 800 4104 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday, (free from landlines and most mobiles).
The NAS Autism Services Directory is the UK's most comprehensive directory of services and events for people with autism. Visit www.autism.org.uk/autismdirectory to find autism services and support networks in your area.