On the evenings of April 1 and 2, 2011, prominent buildings across North America and the world, including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, turned their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2.
Autism Speaks, a national non-profit dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, is aiming to light the world blue throughout April — city by city, town by town — by taking action to shine the light on autism in our communities.
Owen Sanders, along with 10 of his friends describe it best.
Even if you missed April 1 and 2nd, you can help make people aware all month. Here are some ideas:
- Have a Wear Blue to Work Day Encourage everyone at work to wear blue on one specific day during April and explain why. Playworld Systems did! They sent out an email to the entire staff asking people to wear blue and attached a fact sheet about autism.
- Post Your Pictures Post your pictures of your workplace, school or family wearing blue on the Light it Up Blue website. If you have an iPhone there is a Light it Up Blue app that will let you put five different blue borders around your pictures before you post them to the website.
- Change your light bulb on your outside lights, to blue bulbs for the month. You can purchase blue light bulbs at Home Depot. Home Depot is donating a portion of each sale of a blue light bulb to Autism Speaks.
- Attend a Wretches & Jabberers “movievent.” The Autism Society partnered with Academy Award®-winning director Gerardine Wurzburg to release her feature length documentary Wretches & Jabberers during National Autism Awareness Month. The film will be released through nationwide “movievents,” which will include a screening of the film and a live panel discussion featuring Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, the film’s featured self-advocates with autism. Don’t forget to watch the trailer at www.wretchesandjabberers.org.
- Make a difference. Contact your representatives on the state and federal level and ask them to “Vote 4 Autism.” For more information about this legislation and to take action to support it, visit www.vote4autism.org.
- Connect with your neighborhood. Many Autism Society and Autism Speaks local chapters hold special events in their communities throughout the month of April. For more information check your community’s website or go to www.autismspeaks.org.
- Watch a movie. Did you know that something that seems as simple as going to the movies is not an option for many families affected by autism? The Autism Society is working with AMC Theatres to bring special-needs families Sensory Friendly Films every month. Click here for more information.
- Buy a T-shirt or hat or mug or Blue Sparklers. You can help support the cause by purchasing these items from Spectrum Hope, or Light it Up Blue
- Educate someone. Forward a friend this blog or tweet that it is now Autism Awareness Month!
Playworld Systems is educating their distributors through a webinar entitled, “Creating Sensory Playgrounds for Children with Autism.”