Autism Awareness Activities for Kids

Instructor: Kimberly Elliott

Kimberly teaches college humanities and has a master's degree in humanities.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a disorder that affects 1 in 68 children in the United States and is often misunderstood. Read on for fun ways to bring awareness to your students of the many facets of autism.

Wear Blue on April 2

The 2nd of April every year is World Autism Awareness Day and people around the world are encouraged to wear blue in support of autism awareness. This worldwide event can make it into your school with proper planning and awareness. Forego uniforms and formal attire for one day and ask students, teachers, and administrators to wear blue on April 2.

Differences are Delightful

Discuss with your class how each one of us is different in our own ways and have your students explore the ways in which they are special and unique. Depending on the grade level of your students, a number of activities can accomplish this:

  • For younger students, post a large chart with different attributes listed, attributes such as different hair/eye colors, favorite foods, pets owned, family members, etc. and have them place their initials on those attributes that are true for them. Consider reading a book about differences, such as It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr.
  • For middle elementary grades, have students work with a partner to complete a Venn diagram, focusing on both their similarities and their differences. Additionally, consider reading a book about autism, such as The Autism Acceptance Book by Ellen Sabin.
  • For middle school students, assign a short essay on one trait that makes them unique. Ask them to reflect on how this characteristic affects their academics, their social life, etc.
  • For high school students, in addition to focusing on their own unique abilities, ask them to select a famous person with autism and write a short biography highlighting that person's accomplishments.

Students of all ages would benefit from a lesson on Autism Spectrum Disorders. This lesson offers a brief introduction to autism, explains how those on the spectrum experience daily life, and offers suggestions on how to lend a helping hand to someone with autism.

Puzzle Piece Project

The Autism Society has adopted the puzzle piece pattern as a recognizable symbol of the many facets of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Schools may use this pattern to symbolize the uniqueness of each student and how, together, they make up a complete picture of their school. In this spirit, have each student design his or her own puzzle piece. Start with a blank piece of paper or cardstock puzzle piece for each student; let them personalize their piece however they see fit. Depending on their age, they can use crayons, markers, colored pencils, paints, etc. When completed, assemble the puzzle pieces in a hallway, library, cafeteria, or another common area to show off how the unique personalities at your school make up a unique whole.

For More Information

To gain more information on autism spectrum disorders, Study.com offers several engaging lessons, including:

These lessons are short, effective, and each provides a quiz to gauge your understanding of the material. They can assist you in planning your own autism awareness activities as well as throughout the year as you continue to engage with students on the spectrum.

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