A Crawley school girl has received the support of a billionaire after she wrote a book aimed at young children so they could understand more about autism.
12-year-old Sienna Manuel has wrote the book in collaboration with author Charlotte Olson. The aim of the book is to teach primary school children about fellow peers with Autism.
Phones4U billionaire and philanthropist, John Caudwell, has agreed to fund the distribution of the book to every primary school in the UK.
Sienna wrote to John in February 2018 to secure his support, and 25,000 schools are set to receive the book thanks to his motivation to raise awareness of Autism.
Sienna attends St Wilfrid’s school in Crawley and a very proud headmaster, Mr Michael Ferry, was there to show the schools support.
“It’s amazing. She is a phenomenal young lady, and to think she is only in year 7 now and she is doing all this work. She is a massive role model. She seizes every opportunity and I know she is going to a be a star in the future.”
After her own brother was diagnosed with Autism, Sienna became increasingly aware that her brother was often misunderstood. Quirky sounds and behaviors on the playground or in assembly made him different and often stand out.
70% of children with autism are educated in mainstreams schools with a continued increase every year. It is also estimated that 60% of children with autism are bullied at mainstreams schools.
Sienna who is a Diana Anti-Bullying Ambassador wants to help create a change through her book.
She said “I want little children growing up in a world which teaches them to embrace difference. My brother has taught me so much and is a wonderful friend. Children like my brother just need to be given a chance”.
Last year charities, schools and parents campaigned for autism teacher training with a successful outcome. It was announced that autism will be now part of the core learning for teachers as part of their initial training from 2018.
Autism can present serious learning difficulties and there have been worries that children aren’t understood and supported properly by teachers who receive ‘patchy training’.
A NASUWT survey revealed six in ten teachers said they hadn’t been given the training required to teach autistic children.
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, said:
“More than 1 in 100 children are on the autism spectrum, and over 70 per cent go to mainstream schools, so every teacher will teach autistic students during their careers. Yet, autism training has historically not been mandatory for teachers, and some start school with no special educational needs training at all.”
The book hopes to support both primary school teachers and children to understand the disorder better and reduce bullying whilst promoting inclusiveness.
The launch also hopes to celebrate siblings often living in stressful family environments and who are sometimes forced to take a step back. Shining a spotlight on the wonderful work they do and contribution they make to their families and siblings.
‘Learning about Autism with Suzie and Cruzie’ features Sienna’s brother and was officially launched on 30th April 2018 hosted by sponsors Gatwick Hilton Hotel.
Sienna who dances for Pineapple Performing Arts in Covent Garden performed with local primary school children and fellow dance students to remind everyone that Autism Awareness isn’t just for one month.
Hosted on the last day of April and sending out over 25,000 books to schools across the UK, the powerful message of kindness and friendship will continue in schools for years to come.
The author and team members were supported by River Island and wore River Island’s Labels are for Clothes t-shirts from their recent campaign that champions diversity.
£3 from each t-shirt sale is donated to Ditch the Label, a leading international anti-bullying charity. River Island has a long history of empowering people through fashion and self-expression and are proud to unite in the conversation surrounding disabilities, offering their support to empowering children everywhere.
On ya’ bike! Residents invited to explore Crawley on two wheels
Crawley residents are invited to take part in guided bicycle tours to discover local network routes during two events.
Families in Crawley can explore the town on two wheels and discover the local cycle network routes, guided by local people from Cycling UK and Sustrans.
Crawley Borough Council are supporting the guided rides, which includes a tour of Crawley’s parks and green lanes on 27 May and the Annual Crawley Family Bike Ride on 10 June.
On 27 May, residents and visitors are invited to meet at 10am at Three Bridges station where the ride will pass through parks and quiet residential streets, exploring the cycle paths towards the historic Ifield Mill.
There will be plenty of time to tour the Mill before returning to Three Bridges station at 1pm
On 10 June, at Oriel School Fitness Centre, Bikes Revived will be hosting a Dr Bike session from 9.30am, where you can get your bike checked over and in good working order before the Family Bike Ride leaves at 10am and goes along the beautiful Worth Way off-road track to East Grinstead.
There will be time to get some light refreshments and look at the steam trains before returning to Oriel School for 1.30-2.00pm.
Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, Councillor Geraint Thomas, said:
“Cycling is the way forward for quick journeys and keeping well. There have been recent improvements to cycle routes in the town and more are scheduled. These guided rides are a great, fun way to brush up your cycling skills and explore the town on two wheels! It’s a very popular event and a good way to make friends – I’ve really enjoyed it in previous years.”
Cyclists of all ages are welcome, including children who are able to cycle for about two hours. Please ensure children under 16 are accompanied by a responsible adult and have a helmet. We recommend that all riders bring a water container.
For more information about cycling in Crawley, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/cycling
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