Thursday, April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day. On that day, hundreds of thousands of people and communities from all around the world join together with Autism Speaks, one of the largest Autism Awareness Organizations, to bring awareness through a campaign known as Light It Up Blue. Sign up to have your name added to the support list, and to receive a packet of information! 

#LIUB #AutismAwareness

Through this effort, and many others, most people today have heard of Autism. Many know what Autism is, but for those of you who may not, here is a really informal definition: Autism is a hidden disability, a neurological disorder that causes the affected person to think differently, act differently and process things differently, than the average bear. It is a spectrum disorder, which means that it’s symptoms often manifest themselves differently from person to person. You may have heard the saying, “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.”. It is absolutely true.

The latest CDC findings suggest 1 in 68 children will receive an Autism diagnosis by the age of 8. Today, there are an estimated 2,000,000 people living with Autism in the US, many doing so without the supports they need to live successful and independent lives – this number does not include those diagnosed with Aspergers (a form of Autism), PDD or any other spectrum disorders. For the full CDC report, go here.

So, why is this important to me? Easy Peasy. We live with 1 of the 1 in 68.. Our son has Autism. We love him fiercely and think he’s pretty spectacular. Having him has changed our lives in all the very best ways and I admire him more than just about anyone I know. Autism Awareness Day, to me, is the day that the whole world sees my child as important and admires him as much as I do. On April 2nd, he is on equal footing with everyone. He belongs and he’s in the thick of it.. and the whole world has his back, and ours. And, that, my friends, is really cool.   

So, why should this be important to you? Why should you Light it Up Blue? For a few reasons really. The most important reason is because the 1 person in 68 will undoubtedly, within your lifetime, be someone that you know.. maybe you already know someone, and maybe it’s even someone that you care about. Lighting it Up Blue shows you support them. 

There are other reasons, too. You might care because..  

  •  Humans tend to be afraid of what is not understood. Fear creates misunderstandings and stigmas – both of which are easily negated with education. Knowledge is power! 
  • Improving understanding of Autism will improve every aspect of a person with Autism’s life. 
  • Removing stigmas associated will improve the chances of early diagnosis and earlier support. 
  • Educating will lower the incidents of bullying.  
  • Gaining acceptance helps to ensure that those with Autism have access to the right supports. 
  • Gaining acceptance also improves employment prospects for adults in the autistic community, both directly or indirectly. 
  • Because your support will help to pave the way for further education reform for our Special Needs youth – they have a lot to give to the world.   
    Lighting It Up Blue shows you understand and that you care. So, what do you say? Will you, too, Light it Up Blue on April 2nd? If you need some ideas for how you can show your support, go here for a list of Ten Easy Ways You Can Light it Up Blue.Thanks for your support!

    For more information on Light it Up Blue or Autism, check out the Autism Speaks website.

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