Monday 29 March 2021

World Autism Awareness Week

Did you know that this week is World Autism Awareness Week?

Autism, autistic spectrum, neurodiverse; it’s likely that you’ve seen these terms popping up more and more over the last year or so. But what do these terms mean, and who has it … and why are we posting about it?

March 29th to April 4th is World Autism Awareness Week, and we’d like to do our bit to raise awareness. In the UK alone, there are around 700,000 adults and children who have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD); in the US the number is close to 5.5 million.

As with most things of this nature, the term is firmly rooted in the medical model, so can be a little misleading. Symptoms of ASD are broad – hence 'spectrum’ – affecting communication, anxiety levels, and sensitivity to stimuli, among other things. But it’s not a disease – you can’t catch it, and it’s not something to be cured. There is some debate as to whether it’s a disorder at all, or simply a set of behaviours that are naturally part of the broader spectrum of human behaviours.

Some people’s brains work slightly differently to others (no surprises there), and this causes the symptoms – yes, medical model term again – that’s collectively known as ASD. Neurodiversity is a more inclusive term for people with ASD, and covers a range of conditions, not only autistic spectrum. Whatever term you use, the genes responsible for ASD aren't 'negative'; they have also been linked to increased creativity and heightened problem-solving; many of the things we take for granted today, from technology, to art, and the sciences, were only made possible because the inventors – knowingly or otherwise – had ASD genes or were neurodiverse.

Awareness of neurodiversity and the issues faced by neurodiverse individuals is growing all the time, helped in part by the number of celebrities revealing that they, too, are on the autistic spectrum – from actors including Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, to tech icon and philanthropist Bill Gates, and trailblazing scientist and activist Temple Grandin (a name many of you will be familiar with, and who has an excellent video describing her experiences living with Asperger Syndrome on YouTube) – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As is often the case, it seems creativity and neurodiversity are natural companions. There are also more and more adults being diagnosed with ASD, as people recognise their own signs and symptoms.

Depictions of autism, both in literature and film, are also becoming more common, and this has partly helped raise awareness on social media, and levels of discussion. Not only does this mean that there is a much better understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by people on the spectrum amongst non-neurodiverse individuals, but also that sources of help and advice for neurodiverse people, their families and friends, is more accessible than ever. And that’s a very good thing.

At Hubble & Hattie Kids!, we have a very special neurodiverse friend who you may have seen in our social feeds and website recently – Alice the Aspiesaurus. Alice is the fictional creation of Lucy Martin, and is the world’s first and only known autistic dinosaur, and a leading character in Lucy’s books Different is Good and Helping a friend. The ethos behind the books is to provide neurodiverse children with a way to better understand and cope with their own feelings by learning how Alice deals with situations that she finds difficult or anxiety inducing.

Lucy has drawn on her own experience of living with ASD, sharing the methods and techniques she has developed to deal with challenging situations. All kids, not only ASD children, can relate to Alice and her friends’ situations, which cover school, home life, navigating social environments, and friendships. Lucy’s stories are intended to show that whilst being neurodiverse makes us different, it’s these differences that make us good – and, as the title says, Different is good!

Books aren’t the only way Alice is helping with neurodiversity awareness; Alice has her own facebook page dedicated not only to providing life skills and tips for ASD children, but also to providing genuinely fun, educational, and entertaining content that everyone can enjoy. It’s a fantastic resource for children, adults, and educators, and covers pretty much every topic you can imagine. But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself, and 'follow the dinosaur.'

If you’d like to find out more about Autism Aspergers, and other autistic spectrum conditions, the following organisations can help;

National Autistic Society (UK)

Autism Europe (EU) >

Autism Society (US)

Autistic Spectrum (AUS)

Autism New Zealand (NZ)

Find out more about Alice the Aspiesaurus, and get help and advice with a big dash of fun, on Alice’s facebook page.

Find our more about Alice’s books, and download some fantastic FREE dinosaur fact sheets at

Thursday 4 March 2021

Say "hello" to Alice …

Today is World Book Day, and we'd like to introduce you to a very special dinosaur … say "hello" to Alice the Aspiesuarus …

A DINOSAUR? Yep. But not just any dinosaur. Alice is the world’s first – and only – known autistic dinosaur, and features in a series of books by Lucy Martin that are particularly relevant and helpful for children with autistic spectrum disorders, or neuro-diverse students.

Alice, and the Aspiesaur species to which she belongs, are the fictional creations of author and illustrator Lucy Martin. Drawing on her personal experiences growing up with autistic spectrum disorder, and wanting to provide children with a positive message about autism, Lucy combined a love of art and creative writing, with a first-class degree with honours in Zoology, to create Alice, the Aspiesaur species, and an entire dinosaur world. Being autistic, Alice is the perfect literary 'avatar' that children can directly relate to, enabling them to see and understand their own experiences through her.

Different is good is Alice’s first book, soon to be joined by Helping a friend, in a series of heart-warming illustrated tales for children, featuring Alice and her real-life dinosaur friends. Lucy’s books are highly relevant to neuro-diverse children, exploring the emotions and feelings they may experience, and aiming to help kids understand why they may feel how they do via stories that every child can relate to. It also helps children to understand that it’s our differences that make us who we are – after all, different is good!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No; it's Ozzy the Ornitholostes!

As well as offering children a relatable and engaging way to understand their own emotions and responses, the world that Alice and her dino friends inhabit is underpinned by some deep scientific research. Each of Lucy’s hand-drawn illustrations is based on the very latest paleontological research. From which dinosaurs had scales or feathers, to what their habitats looked like, and even what each species ate, Lucy has represented each dinosaur to accurately reflect our current understanding.

For a dinosaur-sized chunk of tips, education, fun and DINOSAURS, make sure you follow Alice's facebook page!

Alice’s facebook page is a must-follow, and offers some truly helpful posts covering a huge range of subjects. From educational and interesting news snippets, to 'Alice’s Aspie Tips,' regular posts created specially to provide neuro-diverse children with easy ways of understanding and dealing with social and life scenarios, and providing clear ways to cope and minimise stress and anxiety. And, of course, there are DINOSAURS! Head over to her page now, and follow Alice the Aspiesaurus to keep up-to-date with Alice’s latest news, tips on dealing with ASD, and plenty of fascinating and fun facts.

Above all, Alice’s world is colourful and fun for all kids, and a great way to stimulate interest in neuro-diversity and develop social awareness, and also in dinosaurs and natural history. 

SO, to introduce you all to Alice, and her dinosaur friends Bryony the Brachiosaurus, Caitlin the Camptosaurus, Ozzy the Ornitholostes, and Stella the Stegosaurus, we have teamed-up with Lucy to create FIVE FREE FANTASTIC FACT SHEETS! Each sheet reveals fascinating insights into a species of dinosaur, from when they live, to who they lived with – even what their footprints looked like!

You can download the fact sheets here:

Delve into the dinosaur world of Alice the Aspiesaurus this World Book Day and use our STAYINANDREAD discount code to get 35% off and bag a bargain!

Different is good - Alice the Aspiesaurus

ONLY £6.99 plus P&P

Paperback • 18x23cm • 32 pages • 25 colour pictures


And don’t forget to Follow Alice for all the latest dino delights