A new illustrated online story has been released by Ambitious About Autism, highlighting the impact coronavirus is causing for autistic children and their families.
The World Has Turned Upside Down was written by best-selling children’s author Kes Gray, with art from renowned illustrator Chloe Batchelor.
Available for free from the Ambitious About Autism website, it is hoped the book will help raise awareness of increased anxiety for autistic people and their loved ones due to the ongoing pandemic.
Alongside providing audio descriptions of vital news information for the visually impaired community, Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow – who is also a an Ambassador for Ambitious About Autism – has lent his voice to the audio version of the story.
Jolanta Lasota, chief executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “Routine, structure and predictability are incredibly important for autistic children, helping them manage anxiety and regulate their emotions in a world that is often very challenging.
“Sadly, the disruption and uncertainty caused by lockdown has led to extreme anxiety and distress for these young people and their families.
“Many of the children and young people we work with can no longer access things they need to provide joy, sensory calming or stimulation.
“Some young people are also struggling because they are frightened by the idea of a virus within the community, which is enhancing their anxiety.
“Four in five children with autism experience mental health issues and lockdown has made it more difficult for these young people to access vital mental health support services, further impacting on their wellbeing.”
In order to raise awareness on how the world has changed since COVID-19, The World Has Turned Upside Down depicts just how the world has altered to help ease anxiety for autistic children.
The new illustrated story has been developed to raise much needed funds for Ambitious about Autism’s Coronavirus Crisis Appeal, launched to provide support to autistic children and their families struggling during lockdown.