Autism Awareness Day: What is autism?

More than 1 person in every 100 has autism. You can't always tell that someone has autism just by looking at them. So...what is autism?

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Liverpool goes blue for autism campaign

St Georges Hall Credit: PA

Liverpool will become the first English city to light up its buildings blue to raise awareness of autism. The Town Hall and St George's Hall will be bathed in blue light to mark United Nations World Autism Awareness Day.

They will join other iconic locations around the world, including the Empire State Building in New York, Sydney Opera House, the World Trade Centre in Toronto and Niagara Falls for 'Light It Up Blue' to highlight the condition, which affects around 1 in 100 people.

The idea has come from Julie Simpson, a mum from Speke who is a member of Liverpool Autistic Children's Alliance which supports parents, carers and young people with the condition. Her 10 year-old son Joe has autism and Julie is a passionate campaigner for greater understanding of the condition.

Julie and Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP wrote to Mayor Joe Anderson asking if the city could turn its buildings blue. Now the Mayor is now writing to the owners of other prominent buildings in the city asking them to do the same.

Mayor Joe Anderson said: "I am absolutely delighted that we are able to help raise awareness of Autism by lighting up our buildings in blue and I am asking other buildings to do the same.

There are around 700,000 people in the UK with autism - more than 1 in 100 of the population.

Julie Simpson said: "I feel very strongly about raising awareness of autism to try and make people understand how it affects children. As it is not a physical condition, people just assume young people with autism are being naughty.

"It is only by explaining to people about the condition that my child and others like him stand any chance of living a life like any other person rather than being judged or ridiculed by others."

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