The annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2017. All around the world various autism organisations celebrate this day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. Autism Speaks will continue to host ‘Light it up Blue’ on April 2nd. This is a campaign to honour of people with autism worldwide, and make them feel that they are not different than anyone else. Each year thousands of buildings are lit up and events are held to help with the campaign, and this year The Lady of Lebanon; The Doha Tower; The Empire State Building; Emirates Spinnaker Tower; Niagara Falls; Christ the Redeemer, and various others are going to light up blue on World Autism Awareness Day. The question is, how are you going to play a role in honouring this day?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you remain autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions.
I shall list below a few ways in which you could play a small part in this, but before i do that i quote below a few things that a child with Autism wishes you knew;
“It isn’t that I don’t listen to instructions. It’s that I can’t understand you. When you call to me from across the room, I hear “*&^%$#@, Jordan. #$%^*&^%$&*.” Instead, come over to me, get my attention, and speak in plain words: “Jordan, put your book in your desk. It’s time to go to lunch.” This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it’s much easier for me to comply”
“It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t have a way to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened, or confused but right now I can’t find those words. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that tell you something is wrong. They’re there.”
“Three words we both need to live by: Patience. Patience. Patience. View my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see my strengths. I may not be good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don’t lie, cheat at games, or pass judgment on other people?
I rely on you. All that I might become won’t happen without you as my foundation. Be my advocate, be my guide, love me for who I am, and we’ll see how far I can go.”
In order to support these children, you could play your role by:
- Post blue – One big way you can help is by turning your Facebook or Twitter profile picture blue. Post photos on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram or Snapchat with the hashtag #LIUB to be a part of the global autism awareness movement.
- Wear Blue – One of the easiest ways you can Light It Up Blue is by rocking your blue clothes! Ask family, friends, coworkers and staff to wear blue – it can be ties, scarfs, shirts, you name it!
- Light It Up Blue – There are several ways you can make this happen. First, you can change light bulbs to blue bulbs. Second, you can tint windows with blue gel sheets. Finally, you can light it up blue by posting the Autism Speaks puzzle piece or Light It Up Blue logo on walls or buildings.
Lets come together and show our support on World Autism Awareness Day!