Autism Awareness Project Ideas

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

In the 21st century classroom, there are an increasing number of students with autism spectrum disorder. In this resource, you will find a collection of project ideas for middle and high school students to help raise their awareness about autism.

Autism Awareness

Autism is a condition that makes it difficult for people to express themselves verbally and respond in social situations. Since 2000, the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased significantly, mainly due to the fact the the protocols and tools to diagnose the condition have become more developed. People with autism can go on to have great success in the classroom and real world. In fact, some studies suggest that the fields of science and mathematics have a higher proportion of autism than other fields.

The projects in this resource will help students learn more about autism, give them the tools to work with their peers who have autism and create a more accepting school environment. These projects are designed to be completed individually. A great time to incorporate these projects into your curriculum is in April, which is Autism Awareness Month.

Fun Fact Flyer

For this project, students will be designing a flyer to be hung or placed around the classroom, school or community, that brings awareness to the basics of autism. For this project, you will want to allow your students Internet access so that they can research autism. However, before sending them off to research, have a class discussion about autism. Some of the key things you may want to cover in the discussion are:

  • What autism is and how it impacts many people in the community
  • Explain to students that people with autism may speak or act differently than others, but this does not make them ''worse'' or ''less''
  • Tell students that, sometimes, people who are different are looked down upon simply because people do not understand why they act differently

Then, let the students know that to help inform others, they will be designing flyers to teach members of the community about autism. Advise the students that their flyer must explain what autism is, who it affects and how people can best interact with someone who they know has autism. Their flyer should also include two images and two catchy phrases.

  • Materials Needed: Copy paper, coloring materials, access to technology for research

Biography Project

From Temple Grandin to Dan Aykroyd and Bobby Fischer to Daryl Hannah, there are many highly successful and influential people who were diagnosed (or, diagnosed posthumously) with autism. In this project, students will be writing a short biography of someone from history with autism. Through a quick internet search, you will find a list of famous people with autism. Gather a list long enough so that each student in your class can be assigned a different person (or at least no more than two students doing a biography on the same person). Then, give students time research their person. In their biography, students should aim to answer the following items:

  • Who was your person and why were/are they famous?
  • How did your person impact the world?
  • With what you know about autism, what barriers do you think this person had to overcome to be successful? Are there any traits of autism that helped this person find success?

Students should aim to write 1 - 2 pages and can present their finished biographies to the class if time allows.

  • Materials Needed: List of famous people with autism; computer/ tablet (optional)

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