Date to celebrate - April 2 - World Autism Awareness Day
What's it all about?
World Autism Awareness Day is an international awareness event created by a United Nations' Resolution in 2007.
It is estimated that one in 100 children has autism and you could help young people understand this figure by asking a representative number of children to stand up, for example, three per group of 300.
Explain the difficulties that people with autism face. These can be categorised into problems with social interaction, social communication and social imagination. Ask children to imagine how they might feel if they were all alone in a foreign country such as China, where they couldn't understand the language or the customs, and use this as an example of how a person with autism feels in their everyday life.
Ask children what they know about autism - perhaps they have seen the film Rain Man - and try to dispel any myths.
Children with experience of autism, such as a sibling, relative or friend, could be invited to speak to the school and share their experiences.
Ask pupils to offer suggestions about what they can do to make life easier for people with autism who they might meet in life. Mostly this comes down to speaking clearly, being patient and showing kindness.
Your assembly could be used to spearhead a week of activities and awareness of special needs generally and the need to show patience, kindness and consideration to other people.
Help, I've got no time to prepare
The National Autistic Society has a range of resources for schools, including an autism awareness pack for teachers on www.autism.org.uk or call the information team on 020 7903 3599.
Where do I get more information?
Visit www.worldautismawarenessday.org for more information about the day itself or the National Autistic Society website can provide further details about autism: www.autism.org.uk.