For 35 years the North East Autism Society has been a beacon of light for autistic people and their families.

Now, in support of the region’s leading autism services provider, iconic North-east landmarks will be bathed in blue – the colour of the charity’s mascot Pawsum the Panda – to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day.

Newcastle Civic centre, the Tyne Bridge, the Infinity Bridge in Stockton, Stockton Riverside, Darington’s Clock Tower, the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead and the Penshaw Monument will all be illuminated in a blue hue on 2nd of April to mark global autism awareness day.

But this may be the last time you’ll see north-east landmarks in the charity’s traditional colours.

World Autism Awareness Day

John Phillipson, chief executive officer for the North East Autism Society, explained:

As an organisation our corporate colours are shades of blue so it’s always made sense for local landmarks to ‘go blue’ in support of us and autism awareness.

However – the way autism is spoken about or thought about, particularly in other parts of the world isn’t always positive. Some organisations – who also focus on lighting things blue – talk about curing autism, or focus on ‘deficits’.

That’s not our approach at all. Autistic people see and understand the world differently but they aren’t less or somehow needing fixed.

With that in mind we want to make sure future awareness campaigns take inspiration from the colour that every walk of life strives for… GOLD.

While the North East Autism Society itself remains proud of its blue branding and long history of pioneering services and approaches for families with autism, it will be leading the way in shaping a new conversation around autism in the nation.

Kieran Rose, a writer known as the autistic advocate, said:

I’m genuinely so proud to be based in this part of the country where organisations like the North East Autism Society are choosing to celebrate autism and become influencers in changing the narrative.

A few groups are opting for gold now – both as a move away from those controversial organisations and as a move toward something more celebratory. The days of jigsaw puzzle pieces that imply we have something missing, and speaking about us like we are broken, aren’t behind us yet. But thanks to moves like this, they could be soon.

Show your support to the North East Autism Society and send us your selfies taken with our illuminated landmarks in the background.

Let us know your thoughts on ‘going for gold.’
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