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Posts Tagged ‘Light It Up Blue’

Light It Up Blue is TOMORROW

March 31, 2011 11 comments

The countdown is on to April 1st! World Autism Awareness Month is in reach and we are so excited to Light It Up Blue! Every day, leading up to the big day we’ll post highlights, a special interview and much more!

Tune in for CBS’s The Talk

CBS’s popular talk show “The Talk” will feature the first of four weekly segments about autism on Friday’s show. Holly Robinson Peete, co-founder of the Holly Rod Foundation, Autism Speaks Board member, and co-host of “The Talk” will share her personal story about when her son RJ was diagnosed with autism. Peter Bell will join her!

Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

Autism Speaks would like to thank the Empire State Building for the special lighting on the evening of April 1, 2010 in celebration of the third annual United Nations World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. Learn more about the Empire State Building at www.esbnyc.com. The Empire State Building design is a trademark of ESBC and is used with permission.
Visit www.lightitupblue.org to get pledge your support and get involved!

 

 

Community Spotlight

 

Today’s virtual interview is with Lisa G. from Little Egg Harbor, N.J.

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Lisa G.: My House!

AS: Why are you lighting your home blue?
LG: My daughter has Aspergers and I want to show my support for her and everyone else afflicted and affected by autism.  I also want to share my support with my neighborhood/community. I am working on getting every home on my block to “Light it Up Blue” by offering them free blue light bulbs!

AS: How did you go about lighting up your block?
LG: I purchased my bulbs at Home Depot and am searching for blue Christmas lights to wrap around my porch and front of my home.

Are you lighting up blue too? Take this quick and easy survey to tell us how!

RSVP to Light It Up Blue!

Why Autism is Important to Me

March 31, 2011 19 comments

This is a guest post by Darrin Steele, the Chief Executive Officer of the USA Bobsled Team and father of a son with autism.

I have spent the better part of my life figuring out how to out-compete other people. I did it as an athlete and now I do it on their behalf as we represent the nation in bobsled and skeleton. I have taken those same skills and applied them to my career, my education and now to my children as I help them succeed. Seems like a pretty basic concept, right? You compete, you try to win, end of story. Not quite. When you drill down a level and ask a few questions, things get a little messy. What do you win? How do you know if you won? How do you define success? Is there only one winner? What does 2nd place get you? What if the competition is weak? What if it is great?

I was taught a valuable lesson on this very topic from a freshman girl on the high school track team I coached while training for the 1998 Olympics. I was competing against the best in the world; so some of these high school athletes provided quite a contrast.  One such athlete was Sara. Sara was a sweet girl and near as I could tell, had no detectable athletic ability whatsoever. Throughout the season, Sara had tried and failed at almost every event she attempted, but she never seemed to get discouraged. In the final meet of the season she told me she wanted to run the 2-mile. When I asked her if she was sure and gently reminded her that she had gotten lapped in the 1-mile race the week prior, she just smiled and said, “Yep, I want to do it.”  So, I reluctantly entered her in the race.

It was painful to watch. My heart was breaking as she ran the final lap by herself. As I waited for her at the finish line, I tried to think of a way to console her after failing in yet another event. I was clapping as she finished when something happened that I’ll never forget. The moment she crossed the finish line, her arms shot up in the air and she looked at me with a beaming smile and shouted, “I did it!” As she hugged me, I finally understood. She had no delusions of beating anyone in that race. She had never run that far before and her goal was simply to finish. We are inundated with medal counts and win/loss records from all around us, but what truly drives us and what truly matters is the challenge we put on ourselves. For some, this internal challenge will result in Olympic medals. For most it will not, but that challenge is no less important. Society loves to help us define success, but the truth is that it is individual and personal. I was feeling sorry for Sara all season, but I was wrong. She may have finished last in every race, but she didn’t lose once. She just might have had a most successful season on that team.

That concept has special meaning during the month of April. April is Autism Awareness month and for thousands of autistic kids, personal challenges are simply part of their lives. In a world where we are wired to win and strive for success, where does an autistic child fit in? The answer is simple. Like with Sara, success is defined by the individual and has less to do with the finish line than the journey it takes to get there. Or, in the words of the Olympic Creed,

[“…the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."]

Very often, understanding something as complex as autism requires a face and a name. For this, I will introduce my son, Darrin Khan.

He is in kindergarten now and we have essentially thrown out the playbook. Autism has put him more than 2 years behind his classmates. He likes to arrange his toys by color and lines them up in patterns that make perfect sense to him. He can become fixated on certain things and has his share of meltdowns. His speaking ability is improving, but he has a long way to go before he will be having conversations. Most people are satisfied with the idea that this is who he is. Those are all traits that we can attribute to autism and while they are a part of who he is, they are not how we define him. If all you hear are the words he can’t say then you haven’t heard him. If all you see are his limitations, then you haven’t seen him. If all you know is that he is different from other five year olds, then you don’t know him. And that’s too bad, because like most autistic kids, he is amazing.

Those who do know him also know that he loves to laugh and make other people laugh. They know that when he kisses you he might slip you the tongue, and then laugh hysterically at your reaction. They know that he sprints from place to place because he can’t wait for his next adventure; that he says “cookie” all the time because he knows he will get tickled for saying it and that he gets sad when he sees someone else sad. They know that at the age of three he could complete puzzles faster than his older sisters and could memorize entire TV shows and movies. They know he is sweet, his heart is big and he is full of personality.

As we struggle to learn his language and he struggles to learn ours in a world that he doesn’t fully understand, my son continues to teach as much as he learns. He doesn’t have the same hang-ups about his future as we do and he doesn’t really care about competing with other people. He is all about right now. He is about having fun, laughing, getting chased, going for airplane rides, riding his bike faster than we can run, dancing without shame to whatever Wiggles song is playing and living in the moment with no thought of tomorrow.

With autism, the future is unknown. There are plenty of autistic children who are able to overcome enough of their challenges that they can live on their own and thrive in society. There are also plenty who are not able to live independently and need assistance for the rest of their lives. Those are very different futures.

The future will come and we’ll do our best to help make it a great one. He has a long road with no finish line in sight and we don’t know how far he will go or how fast. Our job is to support him along the way and enjoy the ride. After all, that is what being a kid is all about; regardless of the hand life has dealt you.

One in 110 children born today will be autistic. This is a cause that I have a personal connection to and USA Bobsled & Skeleton is proud to be partnered with Autism Speaks. On April 1st and 2nd, the nation will be “Lighting it up Blue” as part of the autism awareness program. Home Depot is featuring blue light bulbs as part of this program and millions of Americans will be lighting up their homes, neighborhoods and businesses in support.

Autism is not the only challenge in the world but for the month of April and for these two days, I am supporting this program and asking others to join me in this effort to Light it up Blue. The idea is not to pity these kids or these families. The idea is to educate society about this disorder and

these strange, unique, misunderstood and wonderful kids who have a few more challenges than the rest of us. Give them some understanding, some patience and every once in a while a little help. At the end of the day, they are still just kids who want to be kids. Let’s help give them that.

For more information about the Light it up Blue, please visit website.

Tune in To “The Talk” Friday, April 1

March 31, 2011 3 comments

CBS’s popular talk show “The Talk” will feature the first of four weekly segments about autism on Friday’s show. April 1 is not only the eve of World Autism Awareness Day, but it is also the first day of Autism Awareness Month. Holly Robinson Peete, co-founder of the Holly Rod Foundation, Autism Speaks Board member, and co-host of “The Talk” will share her personal story about when her son RJ was diagnosed with autism. Autism Speaks Executive Vice President Peter Bell will then join  Holly to discuss autism and what families can do after a diagnosis as well as talk about World Autism Awareness Day and the Light It Up Blue initiative.

Read a release from CBS describing the whole series here.

Check your local listings for the time near you!

 

Holly Robinson Peete and Peter Bell

2 Days Left Until Light It Up Blue

March 30, 2011 8 comments

The countdown is on to April 1st! World Autism Awareness Month is in reach and we are so excited to Light It Up Blue! Every day, leading up to the big day we’ll post highlights, a special interview and much more!


Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

More than 500 buildings and communities are lighting it up blue! Are you looking to have a family vacation? Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is going blue and it could be the perfect place!
 

Visit www.lightitupblue.org to get pledge your support and get involved!

 

 


Community Spotlight 

Today’s virtual interview is with Sue H. from Lohrville, La. 

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Sue H.:
My home!

AS: Why is this important to you?
SH: Why isn’t it important should be the question… My grandson is autistic and I have worked in the field now for 28 years.

AS: Wow that’s great! How are you lighting your home?
SH: We are going to do it ourselves. I have the bulbs!

AS: What other buildings would you like to see lit up?
SH: Every home and every business.

Are you lighting up blue too? Take this quick and easy survey to tell us how!

Blue Builder of the Day

Reign Voltaire is our Blue Website Builder of the Day! Reign has created this website in honor of his Godson Jeffrey. He has almost reached his goal – let’s help him out! 

You can build a Blue website too! Just visit this link and get started!

 

NBA to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

For more information about our partnership visit here

3 Days Left Until Light It Up Blue

March 29, 2011 6 comments

The countdown is on to April 1st! World Autism Awareness Month is in reach and we are so excited to Light It Up Blue! Every day, leading up to the big day we’ll post highlights, a special interview and much more!

White House, Light It Up Blue!

Today Mrs. Sergeant Major, who is a military wife and autism mom, makes an appeal to President Obama to light The White House blue. Please leave your comments on the blog, time is running out!

Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

We are thrilled to announce that Autism-Europe will be participating in World Autism Awareness Day again this year. There are several buildings and landmarks lighting up and we are so glad they are partnering with us to light it up blue! 

Europe also came together to talk about brain banking and creating plans for sharing this most precious resource, just in time for World Autism Awareness Day! Read more about it here.

Visit www.lightitupblue.org to get pledge your support and get involved!


 

 

Clérigos Tower - Porto, Portugal

Community Spotlight 

Today’s virtual interview is with Jennifer B. from Rocky River, Ohio  

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Jennifer B.:
Bonnie Bank ‘Blue-evard!’

AS: Why are you lighting up Bonnie Bank ‘Blue-evard?’ We love that!
JB: My 9 year old daughter Madeline was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when she was 4 years old.  As she gets older, the gap is beginning to widen between Madeline and her peers.  I believe it is so important to educate children and the community about autism.  By lighting our street blue, not only are we showing our love and support of Madeline, we are also getting people to ask questions.  I believe as people become aware and seek answers to their questions, the more they will understand…and understanding leads to friendship.

AS: How did you go about lighting up your block?
JB: B-3, as we residents affectionately refer to it, consists of 48 homes.  This past Saturday, I knocked on doors, and spoke to each of my neighbors about Autism Awareness month, Madeline, and the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaign.  I told them of my desire to turn Bonnie Bank Blvd. into Bonnie Bank ‘Blue-evard.’  I was truly amazed by the response!  What I had thought would be an hour long walk along the street turned into an eight hour journey.  By the end of my ‘walk’, not only did I learn about the compassionate nature  of my neighbors, I also achieved my goal of lighting up the ‘Blue-evard!’

Are you lighting up blue too? Take this quick and easy survey to tell us how!

Take the Pledge to Light It Up Blue!

Australia to Light It Up Blue

We are so excited to share with you all what is going on ‘Down Under’ for Light It Up Blue and World Autism Awareness Month. Nicole Rogerson, a Director at Autism Awareness, has said, “It’s all about awareness. It is amazing to add Australia to this great global campaign.” Autism Awareness is an Australian-based not-for-profit organization, which was founded in February 2007. Since then, it has grown into the Australia’s largest autism education and advocacy organization, dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the community. For more information, please visit here.

Banners Hung Around Sydney, Australia

Autism Awareness will be running two events for World Autism Awareness day. They will be hosting a reception to see the Sydney Opera House light up blue! People are encouraged to head down to Sydney’s Harbor and join in the festivities and celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. Check out these banners that have been hung all around Sydney!

For those who can’t attend but who would like to be part of it all, they can go to the Autism Awareness website and light their own virtual light bulb. Head over and light your own bulb!

Autism Awareness will be hosting Australia’s first ever National Autism Summit on April 1st, where 30 of Australia’s leading experts in autism research, medicine, education, and public policy will develop a united action plan for autism in Australia.

Visit Autism Awareness on Facebook and Twitter to get information and updates regularly!

Check out this commercial that has been airing on Australian television. It has generated a lot of interest and discussion throughout the country.

 

 

 

4 Days Left Until Light It Up Blue

March 28, 2011 15 comments

The countdown is on to April 1st! World Autism Awareness Month is in reach and we are so excited to Light It Up Blue! Every day, leading up to the big day we’ll post highlights, a special interview and much more!

White House, Light It Up Blue!

Amy Gravino, self-advocate, writer, and Asperger’s Syndrome College Coach, wrote this letter to President Obama urging him to light The White House blue.Please leave your comments on the blog, time is running out!


Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

Prudential Joyce Realty is spearheading a month long community initiative with the dual goals of increasing  autism awareness and raising money for Autism Speaks in Rockland County. Autism touches many Rockland County families, including several real estate agents at Prudential Joyce.  Nationally, 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism.The campaign began in Pearl River, where at least 25 local stores have very generously agreed to donate up to 5% of their net monthly proceeds to the Light It Blue Rockland campaign. We hope the interest continues to increase and that this Light It Blue Rockland campaign will grow exponentially.The Light It Up Blue Rockland website will list all the sponsors and any events planned during the month.  The town of Orangetown has agreed to put a blue chalk line down on Central Avenue for our April 1st kickoff. 

For more information, like their Facebook Fan Page!

Visit www.lightitupblue.org to get pledge your support and get involved!

 

 


Community Spotlight 

Today’s virtual interview is with Shawna H. from Bolingbrook Ill.

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Shawna H.:
We are lighting up Schoenherr Avenue.

AS: Why are you lighting up Schoenherr Avenue?
SH: My son has a chromozonal deletion and was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and is on the autism spectrum. it is important that my neighbor and community understand about autism and show love and support for my son and our entire community.

 

AS: How did you go about lighting up your block?
SH: We have 26 houses that have 3 or 4 lights on their house. I went to Home Depot and bought 90 Blue lights. I will give the lights to my neighbors for free. I will also encourage them to make a donation to Autism Speaks! I am looking forward to seeing all the houses on the street LIT UP BLUE!

Are you lighting up blue too? Take this quick and easy survey to tell us how!

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