Posts Tagged ‘Light it up blue’

Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Day

LIUB-VERTAt awards shows, on the red carpet everyone is asked “Who are you wearing?” Today, I want to know what color are you wearing? I hope it’s blue. Today, worldwide, we all don blue for Autism Awareness Day. The education and fundraising day, April 2 each year, has, for several years, had international cooperation for the “Light It Up Blue” campaign, where landmarks in cities around the world light blue in the evening. From the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, even the International Space Station will be illuminated with blue lighting to mark the day.

Aside from our indigo t-shirts and porch lights, what does this day really mean? Autism Speaks, the advocacy organization out at the helm of the fight, tells us that 1 in 68 kids will develop autism (the figure is 1 in 42 for boys), and that autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. As we are all hyper-focused on insurance right now, it is interesting to note that a family will spend about $60,000 a year on autism-related expenses, and there is no cure at this time. Being “on the spectrum” of autism means very different things for each individual, and there seem to be many factors that come into play when we try to determine how an individual develops autism. The controversial vaccine theory that got so much attention has not really been borne out by science, but we are learning more every day about pre-natal care, genetics, parental age at conception, premature birth, complications in pregnancy, and more. While we are definitely learning more, we haven’t cracked the case yet—which is why it is so important to keep the bright blue spotlight on the cause, advocate for research funding, and—so crucial—support individuals and families dealing with autism.

Light It Up Blue-World Autism Awareness Day

You don’t by chance have one of those party lightbulbs laying around the house, do you? A blue one? Pop it in a socket–like your porch light, for instance, and light it up blue–for World Autism Awareness Day. Rates of autism continue to rise, and it is figured one in 88 children in the US is on the autism spectrum. Today is the day (who are we kidding? EVERY day is the day) to focus attention on the issues of autism, treatment, and care. Put pressure on legislators to continue autism research (cuts are being made to so many important research programs), advocate on behalf of the cause (find out more here), support the cause by donating or walking an event, and lend your voice. The science is alarming, and the need for us to get involved in a tireless way has never been greater.

Oh, and if you find a blue bulb and Light it Up Blue, your porch (or lamp) will be in good company—the Empire State Building, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, the Great Buddha in Japan, Rockefeller Center, the Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, Canton Tower in China, Kobe Port Tower in Japan, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the New York Stock Exchange, the CN Tower in Toronto, Bahrain’s World Trade Center, Saudi Arabia’s Al Faisaliyah Center, Cairo Tower, Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, Paris Stock Exchange, and so many other monuments and landmarks are going indigo tonight–just like you.

Autism Awareness

Yesterday, April 1, was U.N. International Autism Awareness Day and today, April 2, is the international celebration of Autism Awareness. April is Autism Awareness Month and an opportunity to commit to understanding more about all the people around us. Here is a list of activities and actions, from the Autism Society, that you can take on behalf of this cause throughout April, and year ’round.

Autism Speaks is an advocacy charity raising awareness and working for change. Last night, the Empire State Building and other iconic North American landmarks were bathed in blue light for autism awareness. Light it Up Blue is putting visual reminders everywhere, giving us all something to talk about. Here are several ways to get involved with Autism Speaks.

Understand. Act. And help others to understand. It reminds me of one of my very favorite quotes in the world, always on my computer’s desktop:

Seek first to understand

Then to be understood