PROFESSIONAL writers are being encouraged to support a campaign to raise greater awareness of autism.

The Awesome About Autism campaign was launched by Jane Hawkes, from Little Sutton, three years ago when she set up her online shop Seashore No 4 to provide work experience opportunities for young people with autism, including her 16-year-old son Will.

The campaign centres on finding opportunities to raise greater awareness of autism and promote better understanding of the hidden disability.

During the last two months the initiative has gathered significant traction with interest in the campaign rising following the publication and success of Will's first book 'Hal and the End Street'.

The chapter book, suitable for children aged nine upwards, has been illustrated by Will and written by Liverpool author Jude Lennon, based on all of his ideas.

Set in the 1970s, the story follows the adventures of 13-year-old Hal, who has autism, and the difficulties he faces on a day-to-day basis.

Having being diagnosed himself with autism at the age of six, Will grew up learning to read and write with books he says, he struggled to 'relate to', because none of them featured main characters with autism.

Interest in the campaign and Will's book, published in March by Team Author UK to coincide with Autism Awareness Week, was such that it catapulted to the number one spot in its Amazon category overnight.

To date Will, a student at Greenbank School in Northwich, and Jude have sold hundreds of copies of the book and it remains in the Amazon top 20 list of bestsellers.

The book, which features the 'Awesome About Autism' campaign logo on the back cover, has been widely received by parents, education professionals and other children and adults living with autism.

Jane, Jude and Will are now encouraging other professional writers, authors and businesses publishing books with a link to autism to feature the campaign logo as a way of raising even greater awareness of the condition.

Jane said: "We are incredibly proud of Will and his achievements over the last few months. He has overcome so many hurdles and his confidence has grown all because of this book.

"He has stood up and spoken in front of a crowd of people, been interviewed for radio and television and has had his photograph taken umpteen times. These are all things Will said he couldn't do at the start of the year. He has amazed us and himself by overcoming his anxieties.

"I think he is only just realising what he has achieved. Not only has he produced a fantastic book, he is also helping others to understand autism and what it is like for people who live with this on a daily basis.

"We would love for other writers and authors to support Will and our campaign 'Awesome About Autism' by using the logo on any books they may be publishing in future which have a link to autism in some way.

"The book may be written or illustrated by someone with autism, feature an autistic character, be raising money for an autistic charity or feature other issues relating to autism in some way or another.

"Books featuring the logo will be instantly recognisable by people looking at them and in turn, this continues to spread greater understanding and awareness of the disability."

Will has already received recognition for his book by Liverpool-based comic book writer Tim Quinn, who attended the launch of 'Hal and the End Street' at Write Blend bookshop in Waterloo.

The creator of the Doctor Who comic strip and Marvel Comics illustrator has been Will's idol for many years, so receiving his support has helped boost his confidence further.

It's now hoped the campaign 'Awesome About Autism' will attract other high profile celebrities and writers to help spread further awareness of autism.

For more information about the campaign and other book projects, Will and Jude are working on visit Will and Jude's progress can also be followed on Twitter @HalsBooks and Facebook @halsbooks.