Councils lights up blue to mark Autism Awareness

Mark Morrow North Coast Branch of Autism NI  with Councillor Cara McShane to mark Autism Awareness Month.INBM15-14 107FLMM
Mark Morrow North Coast Branch of Autism NI with Councillor Cara McShane to mark Autism Awareness Month.INBM15-14 107FLMM

Moyle District Council and Ballymoney Borough Council celebrated World Autism Awareness Day last Wednesday by participating in Autism NI’s ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign to raise awareness.

Ballymoney Council’s Town Hall, the base for many local groups, events and community activities, was illuminated in blue.

Ballymoney Mayor, Cllr John Finlay, said: “Council is pleased to take part in the Autism NI campaign for the second year by supporting the ‘Light it up Blue’ Campaign. I hope by taking part we can raise awareness of Autism and how it affects individuals and families living in this Borough.”

Meanwhile Moyle District Council’s Chairman, Cllr Cara McShane explained: “I am pleased that our Council is involved in this campaign to highlight and raise awareness of Autism.

“Autism greatly affects sufferers and their families and this condition is not given enough recognition. I hope that our efforts in being part of the Light It Up Blue Campaign will help to make a difference.”

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 within Northern Ireland, which outstrips the total number of those affected by Down’s Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.

Autism NI’s Chief Executive, Arlene Cassidy added: “We are very grateful that Ballymoney Borough Council and Moyle District Council have chosen to support World Autism Awareness Day.

“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, both Councils have helped to highlight this ‘hidden disability’ and give those affected the recognition they deserve.”

For information contact Rachel Gribben at Autism NI on 028 9040 1729 or email rachel@autismni.org.