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Crawley school girl supported by Phones4U billionaire after writing book about Autism

A book aimed at teaching young children about autism has been written by 12 year old Sienna.



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.

John Caudwell speaking at the book launch is supporting Sienna and the book.

Sienna attends St Wilfrid’s school in Crawley and a very proud headmaster, Mr Michael Ferry, was there to show the schools support.

He said:

“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.

Health & Wellbeing

South East’s diagnostic units struggling with demand for life-saving bowel cancer tests

These tests detect bowel cancer, the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, early when it is easier to treat and patients have a greater chance of survival.



Over 20 hospitals in the South East of England are in breach of a waiting time target for life-saving tests that could diagnose bowel cancer. Under NHS rules patients should wait no more than six weeks, but in one hospital in the region 25% per cent of patients are waiting beyond this time.  

Patients should wait no more than six weeks for a colonoscopy test that can detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat. Referrals may be from a variety of sources. Approximately over half of patients (55%) are diagnosed with bowel cancer via a GP referral, a quarter are diagnosed in an emergency such as patients going to A&E, and 10% are diagnosed through screening.

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The waiting times published by NHS England on Thursday 11 October is further evidence that demand for diagnostic tests are outstripping capacity. Many hospitals are at breaking point because they simply do not have the capacity to meet the growing demand for these services. A lack of funding, limited resources and a shortage of staff to carry out the number of procedures needed are contributing to this.

To reduce the number of patients waiting longer than the NHS target for these vital tests, Bowel Cancer UK’s ‘End the Capacity Crisis’ campaign is calling on the government to invest in more NHS staff to work in bowel cancer units in North of England, Yorkshire and the Humber hospitals.

The two key tests to diagnose bowel cancer are colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy – a camera on a thin, flexible cable inserted through the anus to look at different parts of the bowel.  These tests are known as endoscopy procedures and can detect cancer at the earliest stage of the disease, when it is more treatable, and even prevent cancer through the removal of pre-cancerous growths (polyps).

The three hospitals with some of the highest percentage of patients waiting more than six weeks for colonoscopy appointments in August 2018 are: Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (25%), University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (17%) and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (9%).

The three hospitals with some of the highest percentage of patients waiting more than six weeks for flexible sigmoidoscopy appointments are: Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (33%), University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (9%) and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (5%).

Ahead of the Government spending review in November, Bowel Cancer UK is calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, to work together to develop a fully funded action plan to tackle NHS staff shortages in diagnostic services for bowel cancer and end the capacity crisis. Thousands of people, including patients, NHS staff, leading professional bodies and Members of Parliament, have backed the charity’s call by signing a letter to Government.

Asha Kaur, Head of Policy & Campaigns at Bowel Cancer UK, says:

“These waiting time figures present a worrying picture for patients and demonstrate the urgent need for the Government to make addressing this capacity crisis a national priority. If hospitals are expected to meet waiting time targets then they must be given the resources and capacity to enable them to meet these standards.”

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