Next month, the iconic CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope will join a host of significant buildings and landmarks across the world being lit up for 'Light It Up Blue For Autism'.

The Central West Autism and Special Needs Awareness Group (CWASNAG), in conjunction with Parkes Shire Council, have worked with CSIRO to light up the local landmark for the third year to raise awareness about the condition as part of World Autism Awareness Month.

Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said, "CWASNAG work tirelessly to lobby for better access to services for those living with special needs in regional areas, and to build a more inclusive community."

"The Blue Dish is a fantastic initiative, shining a spotlight on this important cause. A big thank you is extended to CSIRO for their support in making this happen."

The family-friendly picnic night has proved popular once again, with tickets sold out to the event on the 5th April.
For the first time, a Cocktail Fundraiser Evening will be held the following night on Saturday 6 April under the Blue Dish, including a panel discussion, live entertainment, telescope viewing and a lucky door prize.

CWASNAG president, Angela Wilson said, "One of the main reasons our group was established in the beginning was to create awareness in our community of children with special needs and the adversity that they individually face each day."

"By lighting our Dish up blue during the month of April, we are creating an awareness of Autism and in turn, prompting conversations about it. Through awareness comes understanding, which ultimately brings acceptance."

According to Autism Spectrum Australia, an estimated one in 70 people has autism, which equates to almost 230,000 Australians. Autism affects almost four times as many boys than girls.

Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that each person has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. The main areas of difficulty are in social communication, social interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests.

It will join a host of iconic structures across the world to be lit blue throughout April, such as the Whitehouse and Rockefeller Centre in the United States, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the Ancient City of Petra in Jordan and the Opera House in Sydney.

To purchase tickets, visit Try Booking.

The Cocktail Fundraiser Evening guest panellists include: