Tuesday 2nd April is World Autism Awareness Day and here at Discovering Days we are proud to support this important day that forms part of the wider campaign, World Autism Awareness Week. We do this by making Autism friendly playground equipment.
This is the twelfth annual World Autism Awareness Day, with the campaign designed to raise awareness around the discrimination that exists against people with Autism and celebrate the diversity and creativity that inclusion can bring.
In the U.K alone, there are almost 700,000 people with the condition, which is more than 1 in every 100; and if you count the families that this condition affects, that equates to 2.8 million citizens in the U.K!
So how can we support World Autism Day and what does it involve?
Want to find out more? Read on!
What is World Autism Awareness Day About?
Far be it from us to even begin to try and explain this complex condition; here at Discovering Days we make hand-crafted, bespoke playground equipment for schools and nurseries, but it wouldn’t be right for us to support the campaign, without giving some explanation of the difficulties people with autism face.
Furthermore, when you have met one person with the condition, you have met ONE person with the condition… in other words, although there are similarities that form part of the condition, every single person is unique, hence why it is commonly known as a spectrum condition.
For children on the autistic spectrum, life can often be particularly confusing, resulting in anxieties that may seem irrational to those who are neurotypical for example. In addition, there are very often sensory issues to consider, which also impact on the fear and anxiety which is literally just bubbling beneath the surface.
These anxieties can often result in a ‘meltdown’, and for those of you who have children on the spectrum, or you know an adult with the condition, these meltdowns can be an upsetting experience.
It is worth remembering, and for those of you who haven’t experienced anybody on the spectrum, these meltdowns are not tantrums. There are significant differences which you can find out more about here.
World Autism Awareness Day is simply about starting a conversation, raising awareness and understanding the difficulties those with the condition face, every single day.
How Can I Support a Child on the Autistic Spectrum?
There is no denying a child with autism faces a great deal more challenges with everyday life than those who are considered to be ‘neurotypical’.
However, supporting a child with autism is possible, and they can lead a full and happy life if you use a range of treatments and coping strategies that are built around their needs.
The first thing to do is to research from every source possible, about the complexities around the condition, and as weird as this sounds, get to know your own child so that you recognise the triggers and can apply the coping strategy that works best in the situation you are in.
Offer lots of reassurances and allow plenty of time for processing of information, create a ‘safe space’, whether at home or in school or nursery.
An autistic child will often want to spend time apart from their peers, which is absolutely fine, and gives them space to wind down if the pressure of the day is getting too much. It’s worth remembering the fizzy drinks bottle analogy, which has been described as ‘capturing perfectly’ how one autistic 24 year old felt.
Another good way to encourage development is to provide playground equipment with a sensory benefit, children with autism learn particularly well through play, and our creativity table is a great option for allowing children to play with different textures, or experience different smells, whilst in their comfortable surroundings of the familiar classroom.
How Can I Generate Better Understanding About Autism in the Classroom?
Chances are you have at least one, or maybe more, children in your classroom or nursery with autism.
This is a great opportunity to encourage diversity and inclusion whilst teaching children how to accept each other’s differences, and the National Autistic Society have loads of free resources which you can download here to support you in the classroom.
You could also speak to the children about famous people who are particularly successful in their chosen field, the naturalist Chris Packham and Anne Hegarty from The Chase are great advocates for autism and have designed their own material to use in schools and colleges for older kids in order to raise awareness around the campaign for World Autism Awareness Week.
Or you could think about doing a fitness challenge to raise funds to support somebody with autism. It costs around £40 for a parent of a recently diagnosed child to access the Educational Rights Service, which can provide a vital lifeline to a parent struggling to get the support they need.
And if you are not to keen about going out in to the cold, there’s even a virtual challenge you could take part in, where you can run, swim, cycle or walk 7KM in support of the 700,000 people across the U.K with the condition.
So, as you can see, there’s loads of ways in which you can get involved to support World Autism Awareness Day or even World Autism Awareness Week. It’s an opportunity that everybody can be involved with and will help to support lots of individuals who might find life a bit more challenging but are no less able at participating if provided with the right level of care.
Iif you want to find out more about which playground equipment are suitable for children or young people with autism to encourage and stimulate play through sensory interaction, you can contact us here, or call 01282 416 755 to speak to one of our dedicated team at Discovering Days.
Our beautiful playground equipment is made from malleable, sustainable sources and are hand crafted to an exceptional standard to meet health and safety regulations, whilst still durable enough to be hard wearing and stand up to years of play that will see children of all abilities come and go though your school or nursery gates.