City prepares to mark World Autism Awareness Day

The lights on the City Hall are reflected in the wet pavements.

The lights on the City Hall are reflected in the wet pavements. - Credit: Tom Thurston

A Norwich charity is preparing to mark World Autism Awareness Day with a week of activities which will include the lighting up of City Hall and a quiet hour for shoppers on the autism spectrum.

On Tuesday, April 2, City Hall and Norwich Castle will be illuminated to mark World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), marking the start of a series of events organised by the Norwich branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS) to raise awareness for the organisation and the people it supports.

From 5-6pm on Tuesday, April 2, there will be a quiet hour in Intu Chapelfield, where shops will dim their lights, turn down music and other background music.

On Thursday April 5, the Nansa Family Centre in Woodcock Road, Norwich will host a WAAD bake sale and coffee morning, the proceeds of which will go towards the NAS.

Then, on Saturday April 6, Norwich Castle will host an 'Open Doors' day featuring a relaxed performance of Hiccup the Viking, accessible tours of the Castle Keep, dedicated quiet spaces, object handling and crafts.

Jo Corbyn, from the Norwich NAS branch, who has helped to organise the WAAD events said a key aspect to all the events was raising awareness of the needs of people of the autism spectrum and their families with businesses and the general public.

She said: '[The events are] raising awareness for families and just letting people know that we're here [as a charity], so if anyone needs a little bit of information they can ask.'.

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Mrs Corbyn, who has a daughter on the autism spectrum, said the Open Doors and Quiet Hour events would be spaces where 'anything goes.'

She said: 'Before I had my daughter, I would have looked at something happening and thought it was a child behaving badly, but now I don't look and stare because I have learnt that you never know what the needs of people are.

'Anything can be a trigger for someone and sometimes [as a bystander] just asking if someone needs a hand can be enough.

'People have really good days and really bad days but it helps if the general public is understanding,' she said.

To find out more about the Norwich Branch of the NAS, visit or email, the group can also be found on Facebook.