Join our team of Little Helpers this December and help us generate vital funds and raise awareness of autism over the festive period.

We know that too many autistic people’s lives are dominated by anxiety and the holiday season can be a particularly challenging time. Many of the things that neurotypical people look forward to and enjoy most like parties, constant music in the background and surprises can all cause significant stress and anxiety.

The continued uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic presents even more challenges than usual at this time and autistic people and their families still face barriers to support. This is where our Little Helpers come in. With your help we can raise awareness and funds to ensure autistic people can look forward to a brighter future, starting now.

How can you help this year?

We have a range of options for you to choose from throughout December. You can pick the one that suits you best, join us for all three or go your own way and create a fundraiser that’s unique to you. We’d love to hear what you’re doing!

Festive Friends and Family Fundraising: 15th- 25th December

To celebrate the festive spirit of togetherness with friends and family, we are inviting you to become a Little Helper by fundraising together with your loved ones. You could try some of these ideas or come up with your own:

• Create a simple Facebook fundraiser or JustGiving page by setting a team target of £50 - £100 and ask for donations from friends and family - this is the season for giving after all

• Turn your festive fun into festive FUNdraising! Are you planning a family board game marathon? Taking on a fitness challenge with friends? Hosting a festive quiz? Why not ask for sponsorship or donations to make a difference to autistic people’s lives whilst having fun too.

• Instead of giving or asking for physical gifts this year, why not pay it forward and buy the gift of hope through autism research by donating to Autistica?

• Santa’s coming to town! Fancy dressing up as Father Christmas and running for autism research this December? Keep an eye out for your local Santa run or take on a challenge event for Autistica.

• Looking for ideas for festive fun with your team? Why not organise a Christmas outfit fundraiser and see who can create the most outrageously festive look. Think baubles as earrings, Rudolph's red nose and, of course, a Christmas jumper competition.

Happy New Year with Autistica Play: 26th December - 2nd January

Lots of autistic people play games to have fun, relax and connect with others. Autistica Play is how we link up with players and the video games industry.

As we move into 2022 with our visionary and ambitious 2030 Goals – based on the community’s priorities – why not use that annual lull between Boxing Day and New Year to do a sponsored stream? Whether you’re new to streaming or an old hand, it’s a great way to raise awareness and vital funds for autism research by doing what you enjoy.

Check out Jade’s top ten tips for first time streamers.

How our Little Helpers make a difference

Your support is truly life changing for autistic people and their families. These are just some of the things that your generous fundraising can provide:

could fund a behaviour tracking app used in ground-breaking research

£20 could provide researchers with a key communication assessment tool

£75 could provide researchers with vital consultation from autistic people with lived experience

£400 could buy two HD video cameras for use in a research study

£750 could support researchers to disseminate their findings at leading international autism conferences

£1000 could support the running costs of the Autistica Research Festival, where autism researchers, autistic people, family members and the professionals who work with and support autistic people come together to discuss the latest research and innovation as well as how to work together to continue to improve and enrich lives.

Together we can create the change we want to see in the world, and that change starts now.

Why your support means so much

Read Lorraine & Harvey's story

My name is Lorraine and like many of you I am a parent.  My son Harvey is twenty four and is a caring, people loving young man.

But it's hard: Harvey is non-verbal and doesn't have the language to tell us what he wants, needs or how he feels. We have spent every day trying to find ways to help him learn, communicate, and stay safe and happy. Over the years we've become increasingly isolated, and the ignorance and intolerance from people who just don’t understand has been unbearable.

When Harvey was 16 his behaviour started to change. We could tell his head was in a lot of pain but we were told it was too hard to MRI him because he was autistic. He soon started having seizures and when I turned to Google it brought up the appalling outcomes of autism and epilepsy.

There is such a lack of understanding of almost all physical and mental health challenges that autistic people face. People struggle to deal with a child so complex. As a mother I’ve had to give up my job, do my own research and fight for the basics such as a school place or a GP referral.

I support Autistica as I know they are addressing the gaps in knowledge and the holes in the system that families like mine fall through.  A donation this December can be life changing for people like Harvey. Autistica’s research, is working to understand epilepsy in autism, as well as the many other challenges Harvey faces such as language and communication, sensory issues and anxiety. Your donation, really will change and save lives in the future.

I know this year has been hard for so many of us but we mustn't let it stop progress for people like Harvey. With your support, we can ensure a brighter future for our children. A future with access to timely, evidence-based support so every individuals' needs are fully understood and met.

I support Autistica as I know they are addressing the gaps in knowledge and the holes in the system that families like mine fall through.   A donation this December can be life changing for people like Harvey.

Lorraine, mother to autistic son Harvey