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April 2, 2012

Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2. This is a day when organizations around the world hold special events to raise funding and awareness of autism.

Light It Up Blue

One of the ways that many organizations recognized Autism Day was to light their building blue. This was part of the Autism Speaks "light it up blue" campaign. It was their way to "shine a light" on autism. Many buildings and famous structures were lit up blue including the Empire State Building in New York City, the Sidney Opera house in Australia, the falls at Niagara Falls, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the CN Tower in Toronto, and the Great Buddha in Japan.

This is the third year of the Light it Up Blue campaign and, by the many famous world landmarks that participated, it has been very successful.

What is Autism?

Autism is a generic term for a number of different disorders that have to do with the development of the brain. The effects of autism vary widely from person to person. Some people have trouble learning, some have physical difficulties, and some may have trouble communicating. Some people may even be particularly gifted in a specific area such as music, art, or math.

Autism is generally diagnosed before a child turns three years old. The earlier the diagnoses the earlier doctors can get to work on helping the child develop. This is why awareness is so important. The more we know and the earlier children can get help, the better.

How many kids have autism?

Unfortunately autism is becoming more and more common. Current statistics from the CDC show that around 1 in 88 children have some type of autism. Boys are much more likely to be diagnosed as autistic than girls. With it becoming so common most everyone out there has a friend, neighbor, or relative who suffers from autism.

What can we do?

Science is making strides into determining the various causes of autism as well as ways to treat and help people with it. However, they still have a long way to go. By reading about it and becoming more aware of what to look for, donating your time and money for research, and helping wherever you can in your schools and neighborhoods you can do a lot to help.

Here are some links for more information:

http://www.autismspeaks.org

http://www.autism-society.org/

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