PICKENS COUNTY — For the past nine years, a global movement has grown and banded together to “Light it Up Blue” on April 2 in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.
One in 68.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s how many children born today will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Although the disorder is five more times as likely to affect males than females (1 in 42 vs. 1 in 189) it knows no boundaries when it comes to race, ethnicity or socioeconomic groupings. ASD affects the rich, the poor, Americans, Asians and Europeans equally.
The date was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to “shine a bright light” on autism as a disorder that needs to be recognized as a growing global health priority.
In response, thousands of national monuments and landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the planet unite by wearing blue or shining blue lights in honor of the millions of children, adults, families and caregivers affected by ASD.
The driving force behind the Light it Up Blue Campaign is Autism Speaks, a non-profit ASD advocate group. The group has recently come under fire from some within the ASD community for viewing ASD as a disease that must be cured rather than a disorder that should be accommodated.
With over 70,000 individuals having pledged to wear blue April 2 on the Autism Speaks website in the first two days alone, the Light It Up Blue Campaign has been one of the most successful “awareness” campaigns in history.
Autism Speaks claims the Light It Up Blue campaign helps the ASD community by spreading awareness and understanding of Autism while celebrating and honoring the unique talents and skills of people affected by ASD.
Last year, over 18,600 buildings lit up blue including the White House, the Empire State Building and Yankee Stadium. Overseas, the Eiffel Tower, Sidney Opera House and Pyramids of Giza also went blue for April 2 — just to name a few.
But you don’t have to own a skyscraper to take part in the movement.
“My porch light stays blue all year long,” said Jennie Cartlidge of Easley. “I can’t imagine how boring my life would be without (my daughter.)”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.