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Ambitious About Autism

Charity Overview

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. The charity provides services, raises awareness and understanding, and campaigns for change. Through TreeHouse School and Ambitious College they offer specialist education and support. Their mission is to help children and young people with autism to learn, thrive and achieve.

Watch the video below to find out more:

Project Summary

One in 100 children have autism. Research has shown that over 70% of children with autism are taught in mainstream schools and that 40% are bullied as a result of their ‘difference’. Funds raised at ICAP Charity Day 2010 London enabled Ambitious About Autism to commission a project to design and develop a National Schools’ Peer Awareness Programme for neurodiversity, including autism, or differences in the way people think or perceive the world.

Funds went towards Woodfer’s World, a new anti-bullying teaching resource to help stop children with hidden disabilities being bullied at school. The programme is based on four illustrated short stories that introduce characters and a set of situations that reflect some of the challenges around being different. The resource is designed to make seven year olds think more deeply about the concept of ‘difference’ and their responses to difference.  It is a well-established practice that great authors have used allegory as a technique (e.g. Aesop’s Fables, George Orwell: Animal Farm) and have used animals as their main character to teach a lesson or to make us explore something from a different perspective. Allegorical stories are used to stimulate learning, enhance understanding and lead to behaviour change. 

Through the generous support of ICAP we are delighted to have developed Woodfer’s World to help children understand that not everyone is the same. We know that some children with autism can struggle when they go to school, and this sadly includes being bullied. Woodfer’s World is an excellent way for teachers to get children talking about these issues.
Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism

Guidance has been given to teachers about how to introduce the stories to the children to ensure a universal appeal, regardless of age. Designed to help children gain a greater awareness of differences in an engaging way, the teaching resource has been distributed to 17,000 primary schools in England for use with pupils aged 7-8.

I have been using your Woodfer's World pack with my Y3/4 class and felt I should tell you what a success it has been. The children have understood Woodfer very well and I have been pleasantly surprised by the empathy they have displayed. It is an excellent resource and beautifully produced. The children have produced some good literacy work and I will definitely use this resource again. Thank you for sending it!
Teacher in County Durham