- Published on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 17:07
- Written by Temi Oketunji
Monday, April 2nd marked the fifth annual World Autism Awareness day. Every year, organisations and individuals around the globe participate in various events to raise funds and simultaneously create awareness of autism and the people who suffer from it.
A major aspect of the awareness campaign this year was Autism Speaks’ Light it Up Blue initiative, which is in its third year.
This year, famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building in New York, Aspen Mountain in Colorado, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, The Great Buddha in Japan, Sydney Opera House in Australia, Niagara Falls in Canada and many more participated. They were lit up in bright blue to show support for the campaign and draw attention to the disorder which has shown an increasing prevalence over the last few years.
Various organisations dedicate this month to spreading information and generating funds for the cause. In particular, Autism Speaks – the largest Autism advocacy organisation in the world – has teamed up with several organisations, like Chevrolet, Toys R Us, Build-A-Bear workshop, Barnes and Noble, and the Bachman Company to do just that.
Their methods range from virtual test drives of the Chevy Malibu on the Autism Speaks website, for which Chevrolet will donate at least $500,000 to the organisation, to discussions and activities centred around autism in Barnes & Noble stores.
The funds generated are to be channelled into research of autism, support systems for adults and children suffering with autism, and support for their families. The campaign also aims to draw the government and other politicians’ attention to the prevalence of autism and the need to begin seeking answers about the disorder.
Furthermore, the United Nations Postal Administration released six postage stamps and two collectible envelopes as their way of commemorating the day. These were commissioned by the United Nations in December 2007. The stamps were designed by artists who have been diagnosed with autism themselves. According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the stamps will send a “powerful message to people around the world that talent and creativity live inside all of us.”
He further asserted the need to work together globally and focus efforts and investments not only on early detection and initial treatment plans, but also on long term therapies and support systems that enable people with autism to be active and meaningful contributors to society.