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Friday, April 1, 2011

Light It Up Blue - Shining a Light on Autism

Yesterday I stumbled upon a post about "Light It Up Blue" on a friend's blog called "Autism: what's inside?" and part of it said this:

"I know this boy. He’s super smart. You can see it in his eyes. There’s a mind behind those eyes constantly humming along. It’s not unlike my own mind, with the major difference being that I can easily express my thoughts (even poorly) but the boy struggles.

I have this advantage of being able to communicate whatever I want whenever I want. Many times I even waste my words, tossing out banal commentary on Twitter or Facebook. What’s going on inside my head? Just check my Twitter feed. Better yet, don’t.

But what about this boy? Or any child with autism? What’s going on inside their heads? It’s a lot harder to decipher, but there’s something valuable there."

light-it-up-blue-flirty-girl

Because it affects different people to different degrees and in different ways autism is a difficult condition to explain and understand. Autism is a brain (neurological impairment) that for some with autistic tendencies may mean that they're just a bit different, they don't really "fit in" and have problems communicating with others. For most, who are affected by one of the three conditions that comprise the Autistic Spectrum it's a disorder that's so impairing they aren't ever able to become self sufficient enough to live independently and must, even as adults, rely on others for their care.

There are three conditions that comprise the Autism Spectrum. They are:
  1. Classical autism
  2. Asperger syndrome
  3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
2011 marks the fourth annual World Autism Day. It's a day of raising awareness, funds and hope.

How it works: Around the world events are held that include "lighting up" buildings and places with blue lights to raise awareness about Autism.

light-it-up-blue-events

What you and I can do:
For everyday people who don't own a huge landmark building, we can do smaller gestures to help raise awareness like change our online profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter to something blue. Or do a post about autism on a blog, Facebook, Twitter or any social media website.

If you're not online you can simply wear blue clothes on April second or change your porch light to a blue light bulb and wait for your neighbors to ask why you did.

Featured Events for 2011 are taking place at the following locations:

Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock™ Observation Deck (NYC)
Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro)
Sydney Opera House (Sydney)
Empire State Building (New York City)
Memphis Grizzlies Autism Awareness Night (Memphis)
Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum (New York City)
Mitchell Park Conservatory (Milwaukee)
Nebraska State Capitol (Lincoln, NE)

I also found an international list of autism organizations offering information, resources and services on the World Autism Day Awareness website and wanted to share it with you in case you or your family need support in helping someone who suffers from autism.

CLICK HERE to view the complete list on the World Autism Awareness Day website. It includes the contact information to the local resources in each of the following countries:

ALBANIA
ALGERIA
ARGENTINA
ARMENIA
AUSTRALIA
AUSTRIA
BAHRAIN
BANGLADESH
BELGIUM
BERMUDA
BOTSWANA
BRAZIL
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
BULGARIA
CANADA
CHILE
CHINA
COLOMBIA
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
CROATIA
CZECH REPUBLIC
CYPRUS
DENMARK
ECUADOR
EGYPT
ESTONIA
FINLAND
FRANCE
GEORGIA
GERMANY
GHANA
GREECE
HONG KONG
HUNGARY
ICELAND
INDIA
INDONESIA
IRELAND
ISRAEL
ITALY
JAMAICA
JAPAN
JORDAN
KENYA
KOREA
KUWAIT
LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
LEBANON
LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG
MACEDONIA
MALAYSIA
MALDIVES
MALTA
MEXICO
MOROCCO
NAMIBIA
NEPAL
NETHERLANDS
NEW ZEALAND
NIGER
NIGERIA
NORWAY
PAKISTAN
PANAMA
PARAGUAY
PERU
PHILIPPINES
POLAND
PORTUGAL
PUERTO RICO
QATAR
ROMANIA
SAUDI ARABIA
SCOTLAND
SENEGAL
SERBIA
SINGAPORE
SLOVAKIA
SOUTH AFRICA
SPAIN
SRI LANKA
SWAZILAND
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
TAIWAN
TANZANIA
THAILAND
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
TURKEY
UGANDA
UKRAINE
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UNITED KINGDOM
UNITED STATES
URUGUAY
VENEZUELA
VIETNAM
YEMEN
ZAMBIA

My thanks to David (aka Sparky Firepants) for blogging about Light It Up Blue and bringing it to my attention so that I was able to share it with you before it happened!

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