Autism Speaks Launches International Light It Up Blue Campaign for Understanding and Acceptance

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Beginning tonight, Sunday, April 2, landmarks, businesses and homes will be lit on World Autism Awareness Day; Light It Up Blue Quiz tests understanding of autism spectrum disorder; New calendar offers autism-friendly events nationwide throughout World Autism Month

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To increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, thousands of landmarks, homes and businesses in more than 150 countries will be lit in blue beginning Sunday, April 2, marking the start of World Autism Month and Autism Speaks’ month-long Light It Up Blue campaign. Iconic landmarks will participate, including the White House, Empire State Building, Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Macau Tower in China and Niagara Falls. Many houses of worship will also be lit.

Already, more than 30,000 people have tested their understanding of people with autism by taking the new Light It Up Blue Quiz. With its focus on everyday situations, the quiz is meant to increase understanding of the disorder that affects an estimated 70 million people worldwide and impacts each person differently, to varying degrees. They might have unique strengths and abilities that help them excel in school or the workplace, but they might also have challenges with social interaction, highly restricted interests and, in some cases, repetitive behaviors or sensory sensitivities.

Those sensitivities to sound, light or crowded spaces, for example, can make routine outings difficult for children and adults with autism. So Autism Speaks has a new online calendar of autism-friendly events and activities. Throughout April, many shopping malls, restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues across the country will make their spaces more welcoming with autism-friendly events and activities. That might mean lowering the volume of music, dimming the lights or opening an hour early before crowds arrive. Searchable by state, the calendar will be updated year-round.

Corporate partnerships play an important role in raising funds to support Autism Speaks’ mission: being a catalyst for research breakthroughs, advocating for the needs of people with autism and their families, and providing information and resources throughout the life span. Many partnerships will raise funds through point-of-sale donations or special promotions. A full list of Light It Up Blue corporate partners is available at http://www.autismspeaks.org/liub.

Follow the Light It Up Blue campaign: #LightItUpBlue

ABOUT AUTISM
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. An estimated 1 in 68 children is on the autism spectrum.

ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. We empower people with autism and their families with resources, online tools and information covering the life span. To find resources, join a fundraising walk or make a donation, go to http://www.AutismSpeaks.org.

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C.J. Volpe
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