Light It Up Blue is a global event to shine a light on autism. Around the world, iconic landmarks are lit up blue to mark this special day. Check out some of the buildings lighting it up blue here, including the Empire State Building, Sydney Opera House, and Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro amongst many others. Anyone can register to take part in Light It Up Blue, and ask local landmarks to go blue too. The idea is to get as many people talking about autism as possible and to show support for those with the condition and their families.
The National Autism Society is running a live online chat with their CEO Mark Lever, answering some of your questions about the work of the Society. You can join in on 2nd April at 5pm.
What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects around 1 in 100 adults (information from the National Autistic Society). It is common for people to assume that people with autism are like those presented in the media, such as Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of a man with autism in the film Rainman. However, although those with autism share some similar challenges, as a spectrum condition it affects each individual differently. Some people with autism can live independent lives while others need a lifetime of specialist support. It primarily affects how a person communicates, and relates to, other people, and how they experience the world around them. This might present as an over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light and colours.
One form of autism that people tend to be more familiar with through books and film is Asperger syndrome. Individuals with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They tend to have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.
The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people with autism and their families. Founded in 1962, it continues to spearhead national and international initiatives and provide a strong voice for all people with autism. Their website is packed with resources, including information on education, employment and community care, plus real life stories from those with autism, their siblings, parent, carers and partners. Their Autism Helpline provides impartial, confidential information, advice and support – you can contact them on 0808 800 4104.
You can make a donation to the National Autistic Society to enable them to continue supporting those with autism and their families. £5 a month helps pay for a befriender to meet regularly with someone with autism, £10 a month helps another family get help and advice from our Education Rights Service, and £20 a month helps us to give practical support to someone with autism who is looking for work.
Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents by Alan Yau
Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, Schizophrenia by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride
101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders by Tara Delaney
Born on a Blue Day by David Tammet