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Shine a Light on Autism with Rosco Color Filters!

This post is by Joel Svendsen, Manager of Sales and Marketing Initiatives for Rosco U.S. Rosco Laboratories. Rosco is an equipment and products supplier for theater, film, TV, and architectural environments.

Last week, the United States Center for Disease Control released findings that show rates of autism have increased in the US from one in 110 children to one in 88 children. Today, April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day, which kicks off World Autism Awareness Week. Seeing that our blog is called ‘Spectrum’ and that cities and landmarks all over the world will be lit blue tonight for Autism Speaks’ global Light It Up Blue campaign - we thought it would be a good idea to use our social media outlets to help raise awareness of the Autism Spectrum. We’ve changed our Facebook, Twitter and Spectrum pages blue for the week and we’ve joined forces with Autism Speaks to provide global solutions for those that want to change their exterior lights and Light It Up Blue!

For those of you that frequent Rosco Spectrum, you might remember a post last year entitled Spectrum Wavelengths: Something Borrowed, Something Blue that highlighted Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue. The goal of the campaign is to raise autism awareness of the campaign by lighting up buildings, icons and landmarks in cities all over the world blue on the evening of April 2nd, which is World Autism Awareness Day.


Unbeknownst to us, for the past several years, the operations staff at Autism Speaks has been recommending two of our filters - R80 and R68 - to facilities managers and lighting supervisors all over the world to change the light illuminating their building or landmark blue. So, without our knowledge, we had become the “unofficial” official color of the Light It Up Blue campaign. This year, the Autism Speaks organizers reached out to us looking for some help and in the process gave us insight into this motivated, coordinated organization.

The first question we wanted to ask was - why blue? What does the color blue have to do with the autism spectrum? The answer is that Autism Spectrum Disorders are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252). So, the color blue represents the boys diagnosed with autism.

Two other questions we had for Autism Speaks were - how did they decide on Roscolux 80 & 68 as the colors they recommended, and why are there two? It turns out that as the campaign was beginning to get off the ground, the staff at HOK Lighting in St. Louis took the Light It Up Blue concept to some of the clients they had worked with to illuminate the exterior of their buildings and convinced them to change the color of the light shining on their buildings to blue. In order to make it as easy as possible – the professionals at HOK Lighting recommended that their clients choose either Roscolux #80 for spaces with brighter lights or more reflective, light-colored buildings and Roscolux #68 for spaces with lower intensity light fixtures or less reflective, darker buildings. This easy recommendation got back to the national organizers for Autism Speaks and they began sharing HOK’s R80/R68 specification in the Participation Packets they provide to their regional directors and field agents around the globe. Having two, specific products to suggest made it easier for the directors to convince buildings and landmarks to light themselves up blue on World Autism Awareness Day.


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.