Mill lit up blue to raise awareness of Autism

Mayor Fraser Agnew and Ursula Fay, NBC Leisure and Culture Development Manager, prepare to light Mossley Mill up blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day. They were joined at the event on April 2 by members of Autism NI. INNT 15-512CON
Mayor Fraser Agnew and Ursula Fay, NBC Leisure and Culture Development Manager, prepare to light Mossley Mill up blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day. They were joined at the event on April 2 by members of Autism NI. INNT 15-512CON

Newtownabbey Borough Council celebrated World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 by participating in Autism NI’s ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign.

All 26 local councils throughout Northern Ireland and the NI Assembly joined together to support the campaign, which aims to raise awareness about Autism.

The Mayor, Alderman Fraser Agnew, prepares to light Mossley Mill up blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day. He was joined by young people representing Autism NI. INNT 15-014-FP

The Mayor, Alderman Fraser Agnew, prepares to light Mossley Mill up blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day. He was joined by young people representing Autism NI. INNT 15-014-FP

Many iconic landmarks throughout the UK and the rest of the world, including Sydney Opera House and the Empire State Building, were also lit up blue as part of the global initiative.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that while all people with Autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. There are currently over 20,000 people diagnosed with Autism in Northern Ireland.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on Autism as a growing global health concern. It also celebrates the unique talents and skills of people with Autism and features community events around the world where individuals with Autism and their families are warmly welcomed and embraced.

Each year, Autism NI raises awareness of the disability through a coordinated awareness campaign during the month of April.

Autism NI’s Chief Executive, Arlene Cassidy commented: “It is vital that awareness is raised throughout Northern Ireland in relation to Autism, especially within the local community as there is still a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance in relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder. By holding an event such as this, Newtownabbey Borough Council has helped to highlight this ‘hidden disability’ and give those affected the recognition they deserve.”

Mayor Fraser Agnew added: “I admire the drive and professionalism of all those who work in Autism NI. It is the only organisation in Northern Ireland providing such a comprehensive range of services for families and professionals dealing with Autism.

“Autism NI not only has the person with Autism at heart, but their family and carer. It knows that early intervention is vital for children with Autism and has worked tirelessly to ensure these families get the attention and support they need.”

For more information about the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign contact Rachel Gribben at Autism NI on 028 9040 1729 or email rachel@autismni.org