Washington, D.C. (April 2, 2014) – In conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks launched its fifth annual Light It Up Blue campaign today, turning iconic landmarks, state capitals and homes across the country blue for the month of April. Beginning with the Empire State Building this afternoon, the Light It Up Blue campaign will call worldwide attention for greater autism awareness.
“Light It Up Blue is a unique global campaign that will once again draw attention to individuals and families living with autism on a daily basis,” said Liz Feld, President of Autism Speaks. “As we heard last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of autism is now 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls). As more and more families are impacted, autism must become a national priority.”
This year, over 50 mayors of major cities have committed to either lighting up their city hall, a landmark or issuing a proclamation for World Autism Awareness Day or World Autism Awareness Month. Autism Speaks encourages cities and mayors to post pictures of these landmarks on Twitter using the hashtags: #mayors4LIUB, #1in68 and #LIUB.
Governors from over 20 states have committed to lighting up their state’s capitol building, governor’s residence or other government structure on April 2or for some period of time in April. Several have committed to lighting up the structure for the entire month of April. Nearly 40 governors have issued proclamations as well, and Autism Speaks encourages them to post a picture of their capitol building lit up blue on Twitter with the hashtags: #Governors4LIUB, #1in68 and #LIUB.
“Every state, city and community is affected by autism, which knows no racial, ethnic, and socio-economic boundaries,” Ms. Feld went on to say. “Over the month of April, we are pushing to ensure that every family, from every community in America has access to quality, affordable health care treatment and services. We need a comprehensive strategy that includes the research community, policymakers, educators, caregivers, and people living with autism coming together to address this community’s needs across the lifespan.”
Autism Speaks is currently driving a federal policy agenda that would have a direct impact on the autism community. This includes reauthorizing the Combating Autism Act, which would continue to secure funding for autism research and promote accountability in how these dollars are spent; passing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would provide tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities; and urging Congress to take action to improve TRICARE and improve access and coverage of evidenced based treatment services for military families.
Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, and treatments for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.