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Walk to raise autism awareness

16 Apr 2013

Walk to raise autism awareness Image

Thousands descended into Southbank last month for a walk and carnival to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as part of World Autism Awareness Day.

The march started in Alexandra Gardens, travelled along Southbank and then back over the river to Federation Square.

As part of the campaign, major Southbank landmarks like Eureka Tower and the Arts Centre lit up in blue during last month.

Autism Victoria CEO Murray Dawson-Smith said the day was a great success and would really help to raise awareness of ASD.

“We were really delighted. We were especially delighted with the numbers. Unfortunately we couldn’t avoid a short shower of rain, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd,” Mr Dawson-Smith said.

He also said Southbank was an ideal location for an event of this nature, given it was so visible to so many people, especially in the middle of the day on a Sunday.

“To have all of those families to meet just next to, and then walk through Southbank, and then over to Federation Square, it means we’re right in the public eye. A lot of people were stopping us and asking why we were there, which is the whole point of the exercise.”

Mr Dawson-Smith said the walk had grown substantially over the last couple of years, and he hoped that trend continued into the future.

“We’d love to see more and more families who have a family member with autism, but just want to come down and find out more,” he said.

“We started four years ago with about 800 and this year we had about 5000. We’re hoping to grow to seven, eight or maybe 9000 in the next couple of years.”

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