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Light it Up Blue: Autism Awareness Day on April 2


April 2nd marks seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day, a day of commemoration dedicated to the spreading of awareness about the disorder which has reached an all time high, hitting 1 in 68 children and over 1 in 50 students around America and the world. Autism Speaks, a website providing in-depth information and support about and for autistic individuals, has put out a notice, stating "... if you're on Twitter, use #LIUB to share your experience helping light the world up blue this April."

Autism Info

  • Autism is believed to be the cause of both genetic and environmental factors, with the former pinpointing multiple areas in which certain anomalies may occur.
  • The autistic mind works about 42% more than a neurotypical's, even at rest.
  • When it comes to reading and mathematics, one particular study found that 39% are higher-achieving, 9% have hyperlexia, 20% have hypercalculia, and 32% are lower-achieving.
  • Autistic children taught through observation and modelling strategies are able to achieve results on par with those of typical mental functioning, according to a 2014 study.
  • Females are less likely to have autism than males due to their double-X chromosome, which the study proposed meant that they are able to fight off the abnormalities better than males with their Y-chromosomes.

Light it Up Blue
"Light it Up Blue" is an Autism Speaks initiative begun in 2010 to help raise international awareness about autism, though the way in which wikipedia describes the day does not appeal to me. On wiki, it states that "This initiative is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month in the United States." I personally must digress. Autism is not a health crisis and children born on the spectrum are not people waiting to be cured. For those lower on the ladder, where the rainbow dips into a lower IQ as well, a "cure" may be ideal. However, every child is special to his or her caregivers and deserves to be respected as such.

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On April 2, 2013, the Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium, was lit up blue. Iconic landmarks around the globe including the Empire State Building in New York City, Willis Tower in Chicago, the CN Tower in Toronto, and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, as well as airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, restaurants, hospitals,and retail stores, were among the more than 100 structures in over 16 U.S. cities and nine countries around the world to "Light it Up Blue" on the evening of April 1, 2010.

What can YOU do on April 2, 2014?

  • Light the lights on a building in a blue colour
  • Host an event dedicated to raising autism awareness
  • Donate money to a charity that caters to autism awareness and caring for autistic needs
  • Do something kind for an autistic person
  • Create a low-sensory environment in which both the neurotypical and autistic individuals can feel comfortable

The best part is that though "Light it Up Blue" is for World Autism Awareness Day, you can keep the blue shining bright and you kind actions continued throughout the month. Just don't forget that there are 11 more months in the year you can do something good throughout, no matter which category you choose to follow.

Lancaster Online and other such newspaper clippings present autism-friendly outing options for those on the spectrum and their families in celebration of Autism Awareness Month.