SKIES across the North-east will be awash with gold next week, as the region’s landmarks get involved with World Autism Acceptance Week.

With a long list of local authorities and their landmarks ready to ‘go gold’, and in-person events set to return post-pandemic, it looks set to be another record-breaking year for the North East Autism Society.

John Phillipson, CEO at NEAS, said: “Our campaign for Autism Acceptance is now in its fourth year and in that time we’ve made some huge strides. In 2019 we responded to feedback from the autistic community who told us that simply raising awareness wasn’t enough, which is why we changed our focus to acceptance and set about trying to increase understanding and educate the wider public.

Our goal remains the same: we believe we can collectively create a better world for everyone, but especially – for this week – our focus is on what we can learn and change for the better, for those of us who are autistic.

“That positive message is also backed up by our gold theme, which denotes value and worth.”

Venues going gold in support of Autism Acceptance include:

  • Sunderland: Northern Spire Bridge, Penshaw Monument, Keel Square, Market Square, Seaburn Lighthouse, Fulwell Mill and Hylton Castle. 28th March – 3rd April 
  • Newcastle: Civic Centre - 2nd April
  • Gateshead: Gateshead Millennium Bridge - 2nd April
  • Northumberland: Community Hub at Cramlington - 28th March to 3rd April
  • Darlington: Clock Tower - 2nd April
  • Stockton: Stockton Town Hall, Stockton High Street fountains and columns, Riverside and Newport Bridge - 2nd April 

As an organisation, we switched our focus from awareness to acceptance in 2019 as a direct result of feedback from the autistic community. Since then, we have continued to innovate and lead the region in how autism is viewed and understood. 

For the second year running, we will be hosting our Acceptance Matters virtual conference on Thursday, April 28, which includes a line-up of autistic speakers and practitioners. While we will also be returning to Herrington Country Park on Friday, April 22, for our annual Walk for Acceptance, which had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19.

We have also created an educational toolkit for teachers, to support them in delivering lessons around autism and neurodiversity in line with Autism Acceptance Week. To receive the free resource pack, schools simply need to register at the link below.

Sign up to Autism Acceptance Week