A CHARITY is setting out to make people blue next week to raise awareness of autism.

The North-East Autism Society is asking families, schools, businesses and communities to dress in blue on World Autism Awareness Day, Thursday, April 2.

The aim is to shine a spotlight on the often misunderstood condition, which affects about 26,000 people in the North-East.

At the charity’s specialist school in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, today (Wednesday, March 25), staff, pupils and parents officially launched the Make it Blue campaign as part of an Easter party.

Aimee Bradley, whose five-year-old son Aidan attends the school, said: “It’s so important to raise awareness of autism because generally speaking people don’t understand it. We experience this is a lot when we are out in public. People think he is misbehaving or we can’t control him.”

The North-East Autism Society, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, has come up with a range of ways people can get involved, ranging from organising a blue themed coffee morning or event, to simply wearing a blue ribbon.

Events Fundraiser, Sophie Clarke said; “World Autism Awareness Day is a chance to all join together, be positive and have fun promoting this special day.

“We want to appeal to everyone throughout our region to ‘make it blue' and we would like to say a huge thank you to the organisations who have already pledged their support.”

For more information, visit ne-as.org.uk