Wonder why Home Depot is selling blue lightbulbs? It’s to mark World Autism Awareness Day. Worldwide, landmarks like the CN Tower and the Empire State Building will be lit up blue for autism tonight.
It’s funny—just when we think we’re clued in about autism, the picture changes. A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced alarming new stats. They estimate that one in 88 children in the U.S. is diagnosed on the autism spectrum. But Autism Ontario explains that rates from one research group can’t be generalized. They estimate that one in 110 individuals is diagnosed with an ASD in Canada.
Bottom line: There are a LOT of children, teens and adults affected by autism. If you’d like to show support today, try these ideas:
• Light up your house with blue bulbs or wear blue clothing.
• Take out a children’s book about autism from your library and read it with your kids.
• Talk about ways your child can befriend and interact with a classmate who has autism.
• If there’s a student with autism in your child’s grade (highly likely), get in touch with their parents. Invite the child for a playdate or a birthday party. For many kids with ASD, this is a rare event.
If you love someone with autism, try these ideas to mark the day:
• Celebrate the one you love! Write down all their strengths and endearing traits.
• Serve their favourite foods for dinner.
• Sign up for a research study. Many require only filling out online questionnaires. Researchers are looking at autism across the lifespan—so there are opportunities for everyone. Let’s increase what we know about autism. In doing so, we’ll help our kids have better lives.
Happy World Autism Awareness Day, gang!
Photo: Beverly & Pack via Flickr