Autism and Nature to launch a New Forest colouring book to help children with autism engage with the natural environment

Autism and Nature, a non-profit organisation which helps children with autism and related disabilities to engage with nature and the countryside, has received a donation of £6,479.56 from the Barker-Mill Foundation (BMF) to support the production of a new colouring book to benefit approximately 1,000 children in and around the New Forest.

The 32 page book will focus on 14 natural places in the south west Hampshire countryside, many of which featured in the organisation’s recently published story book; ‘Alex and Rosie’s Adventures in the New Forest.

Enabling younger children with autism to engage with the natural environment is one of the most important aspects of the organisation’s work as autistic children are amongst the most socially vulnerable and many have few opportunities to engage with the natural environment.

Dr David Blakesley, Co-Founder and Director of Autism and Nature, said: “Colouring is believed to be a therapeutic exercise and our new colouring book should help children not only relax, but also learn more about the wildlife they might see in the New Forest and activities they might undertake in the countryside, such as making natural art and watching birds.”

“’Alex and Rosie’s New Forest Colouring Book’ will use clear and attractive black and white illustrations; and inset colour illustrations to help children select appropriate colours for featured wildlife. Symbolised text accompanying the illustrations will also help adults to explore topics and ideas with their children and encourage them to communicate more.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Barker-Mill Foundation for supporting us again and enabling us to provide help to autistic children in Hampshire with our popular guides and story books and now our exciting new colouring book!”

With the generous help and support of Autism Hampshire, copies of the colouring book will be distributed free of charge to special schools and families in and around the New Forest. The project will directly benefit children with autism and SEN, particularly those of early years, pre and primary school age.

The colouring book will be the third project for the organisation in south west Hampshire following the success of the guide for parents and carers and the story book for younger children with autism, both of which were funded by the Barker-Mill Foundation.

Tim Jobling, Trustee at the Barker-Mill Foundation said: “We are pleased to have been able to help Autism and Nature produce a new colouring book for children based in the New Forest. The organisation’s simple approach to enriching the lives of children with autism and related disabilities is something we are proud to be able to support in our local area.”

“We’re looking forward to seeing the finished colouring book and hearing of the positive impact it’s had on local young children.”

For more information about Autism and Nature please visit: