EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing is calling on the district’s primary schools to help raise awareness of autism.

Mrs Laing has lent her support to The Anderson Schools Challenge, which asks children to complete 50 fundraising tasks in celebration of The National Autistic Society’s 50th birthday.

Mini-challenges range from cramming 50 items into a Smarties tube to staging an autism awareness assembly.

Mrs Laing said: “School can be a real struggle for many children with the condition, but better understanding among teachers, school staff and other pupils can make a real difference.

“This is a fun and easy way to improve awareness of autism and raise vital funds for the NAS, so that it can continue to support individuals and families across the UK."

The charity's chief executive Mark Lever said: “We’re thrilled Mrs Laing is championing this important challenge and encouraging as many schools as possible take part.

“Raising awareness and providing vital support can make a world of different to people with autism and their families.”

To sign up to the challenge visit www.autism.org.uk/schoolschallenge.