On 2nd April 2015 we will see the world light up blue for World Autism Awareness Day and Leeds will be showing its support again. The Civic Hall, Leeds First Direct Arena, Bridgewater Place and CitiPark (Merrion Centre Car Park) will all be lit up blue to help raise awareness and shine a light on autism.
You too could join in at home by using blue lights, setting up a window display, putting up blue fairy lights or just by wearing something blue on the day and encouraging family, friends, co-workers and staff to do the same. But firstly, surely we need to understand more about autism. So what is it?
Autism is a hidden disability. It affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. Autism comes is various forms and severities. You cannot always tell someone has autism just by looking at them which sometimes makes it harder to recognise. Others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.
This video produced by the National Autistic Society helps to explain more about autism:
As well as going blue on 2nd April, Leeds Autism Services are hosting the #BiggerAndBetterInLeeds event with Kay Mellor OBE at Leeds City Museum 11am – 3:30pm. Leeds Autism Services is a charity offering a range of autism-specific services for adults and provides support for people either in their own homes, community settings or one of their own facilities.
The aim of the event is to focus on the positive contributions people with autism make to the city of Leeds. There will be stalls to inform and educate people about the condition, providing information about the support available in the city and how people can access it along with performers and speakers taking to the stage throughout the day. The event is free so come along if you can make it.