Medium and message: TreeHouse

Autism charity TreeHouse has created a calendar that gives tips for communicating with autistic pupils.

TreeHouse, the charity that promotes better education for children with autism, has produced a calendar it says will help teachers and children in mainstream schools improve their relationships with autistic pupils.

Each month has a key message from the perspective of an autistic child, such as: "Sometimes I may take you literally. If you say you will be back in a second, that's what I expect you to do."

A spokeswoman from TreeHouse says: "The messages are meant to convey how autistic children often feel in the classroom. We get so many calls from parents and schools who are struggling to get autistic children to learn effectively that we decided to come up with a simple teaching aid to help."

A 2007 survey by the National Union of Teachers found that only 30 per cent of teachers felt confident about working with autistic children, so the calendars include helpful tips for them.

The idea came from the charity's Parent Support Project, which consulted its network of 10 groups around the country to come up with 12 messages.

The calendars were sent out free to mainstream schools in the 10 areas, which include Birmingham, Oldham and Ealing.

"We have had an enormous response so far," says the spokeswoman. "We will continue to send out calendars to anyone who requests one until we have run out of the 4,000 we produced."

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