As autism affects people of every race and every gender around the world, some smart marketers designated April is World Autism Awareness Month. And, six years ago, Suzanne Wright of Autism Speaks spoke to the United Nations to get April 2nd designated, in perpetuity, as Annual World Autism Awareness Day. On that day, there’s a movement called Light it Up Blue, led by Autism Speaks, to have international monuments washed in blue light for autism awareness. Last year, more than 3,000 buildings in 600 cities in over 45 countries (on every continent!) participated. It ranged from the International Space Station to Graceland, from the Empire State Building in Manhattan to the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil. (Go to this link to see an awesome photo gallery of buildings that participated last year!)
Though Autism Speaks uses this opportunity as a fundraiser, our family participates by leaving on our hall light (which is blue) in the evenings. And on April 2, Nate will be wearing this super special shirt to school, which we bought from CafePress (in blue, of course!).
Nate’s school also does monthly fundraisers for various causes where kids can, say, wear a hat in exchange for donating a $1 to a charity. A few weeks ago, I went to a PTA meeting with Ms. Susie, Nate’s lead therapist, where she pitched an autism fundraiser, which was approved! In exchange for $1, Nate’s school mates will be allowed to wear their pajamas to school. (Who doesn’t want to do that!?!) The funds will go toward his school’s team in the Autism Services & Resources Connecticut Walk/Run for Autism in May. And yes, we will be walking (I don’t run) with the team!
So on April 2nd, if you notice blue light bulbs in house porch lights or see a metropolitan landmark awash in blue, know it’s celebrating and bringing awareness to people like Nate. And if you want to participate, Autism Speaks has partnered with Home Depot, where you will find blue light bulbs for sale; $1 of each sale is a donation to Autism Speaks.