Friday, March 23, 2012

Light It Up Blue

The fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2, 2012. Autism and the spectrum of disorders which fall under it, including Asperger syndrome, are developmental disorders characterized by impairment, in varying degrees, of the ability to form normal social relationships, to communicate with others, difficulties in motor coordination, and even physical health issues.

Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, early prevention, treatments and future cure for autism, is promoting a global initiative called Light It Up Blue, to raise awareness about this growing health concern which affects an estimated 1 in 110 children (1 in 70 boys) in the U.S. This is the third year of Light It Up Blue, a day when iconic landmarks around the world (such as the Empire State Building and Sydney Opera House pictured above) are illuminated in blue as a moving reminder to us all of the millions living with autism. You too can join in this effort, by doing something as simple as changing the light bulb on your front porch. Don't have a front porch? Wear blue for the day. Light it up blue and wait for your friends and neighbors to ask why, explain the reason, and be a voice for that small child or adult who can’t speak for themselves because of this heartbreaking affliction.

A startling and frightening fact offered on the Autism Speaks website is that “more children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined.” All the more reason to participate in this small way and help bring us all closer to the day when autism is no more.

Visit the Tools & Resources tab on the Light It Up Blue site to printout a Participation Packet filled with other ideas on how you can acknowledge this special day.