Posts Tagged ‘World Autism Awareness Day’

9 More Days Until Light It Up Blue!

March 23, 2011 1 comment

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!

Light the White House Blue

Today we are featuring Wills, a young man with autism, who wrote this heartfelt letter to President Obama urging him to light The White House Blue. He insisted that we make sure the post was in blue, way to go Wills!

Who’s Lighting It Up Blue?

More than 500 buildings and communities are lighting it up blue, including a repeat from last year… the great Fenway Park! Boston fans can rest assured that their Red Sox have joined the campaign again!

Fenway Park Lit Up Blue in 2010 for World Autism Awareness Day

Community Spotlight

Today’s virtual interview is with Kathy D. from Gainesville, Va. 

Autism Speaks: What are you Lighting Up Blue?
Kathy D.: Tenbrook Drive in Gainesville, Va.

AS: Why was the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign important to you?
KD: I have a daughter who has autism and is currently in a long-term care facility trying to get “happy and healthy” enough to come back home to her family.

AS: How did you get Tenbrook Drive on board?
KD: I bought my neighbors “Light it up Blue” t-shirts, window clings, pens and glow bracelets. A total of 17 shirts! We plan to gather on April 2 to take a group picture and send it to my daughter. They have all loved and supported her through these tough times. We are all also going to light up our outside lights blue the night of April 1st. So yay for Tenbrook Drive!

AS: Next Year, who else would you like to see participate?
KD: Next year maybe I can get my whole neighborhood to participate instead of one street!

With only 9 days left, what are YOU lighting up blue?

Autism Speaks and The Home Depot Team Up to Shine a Light on Autism

March 21, 2011 58 comments

Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, and The Home Depot® have partnered to shine a light on autism during Autism Awareness Month in April and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The Home Depot, the largest distributor of Coleman products, will sell blue Coleman LED lanterns and blue light bulbs starting mid-March, offering people across the country the opportunity to raise autism awareness through Autism Speaks’ Light it Up Blue initiative. A portion of each sale will go to Autism Speaks to fund research, advocacy, family services, and awareness for families struggling with this disorder.

“The Home Depot and Coleman have become critical partners in Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign,” said Pat Kemp, Autism Speaks Executive Vice President – Marketing, Corporate Relations and Development. “We can now encourage all Americans, whether they are touched by autism or not, to join the campaign on April 1 and 2 to show their compassion for families facing this disorder by lighting up their homes blue.”

The light bulbs retail for $1.65, and $1 from each one purchased, up to $80,000, will benefit Autism Speaks. The Coleman LED lanterns retail at $19.88 and $2 from each, up to $160,000, will go to Autism Speaks. The lantern alternates from white to blue when illuminated. The Home Depot arranged for the specially marked Light It Up Blue Coleman products to be manufactured and distributed throughout all of their stores in the United States and will be available in stores from March 15 through the end of April or while supplies last.

The Light It Up Blue campaign, now in its second year, has garnered the support of over 300 iconic buildings and landmarks across the globe that will illuminate their structures in bright blue on the evening of April 1 and 2 in an effort to help raise awareness and shine a bright light on autism as a growing public health crisis.

Autism Speaks has a special Web site,, to highlight the campaign. The Light It Up Blue Web site provides unique and fun ideas about how people can get involved in their local community, from hosting autism-themed gatherings to viewings of autism-themed films and TV programs. The site also accepts donations to fund autism awareness and research efforts.

For more information about the partnership between Autism Speaks and The Home Depot, please visit here!

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*For anyone having difficulty finding bulbs*
Call your local Home Depot Lighting & Electrical department, ask if they have them. If they do not, ask if the associate can look up what stores in your area still have stock and give the SKU. The SKU # is 625677 for the blue light bulbs.

It Pays To Have People in “Well Lit Places”

March 18, 2011 8 comments

This is a guest post from Barbara Goode, the St. Louis Walk Now for Autism Speaks Manager.

We really wanted to embrace the Light It Up Blue campaign in St. Louis.  The St. Louis Volunteer PR committee has really taken on this project and made it soar.

The first contact they made was nothing short of genius!  They contacted a lighting company; actually, it wasn’t just a lighting company, but THE Lighting Company in St. Louis, HOK Lighting.  HOK Lighting came on board and lent Autism Speaks their time, talent, and knowledge of the buildings and fountains that could easily and inexpensively change the color of their lighting.

And with the “flip of a switch” (okay, a few emails), we suddenly had 10 buildings confirmed… The Big Brothers Big Sisters Building, Chase Park Plaza, City Garden Fountains, Civil Courts Building, Government Hill Fountain, Lambert Airport Terminal, Lewis Rice and Fingersh, Lighting Associates, Missouri History Museum, Soldiers’ Memorial Military Museum, with more confirming each day.  And thanks to one of our fabulous fundraisers, the St. Louis Autism Speaks Office will Light It Up Blue too!

2011 ‘Light It Up Blue’ Photos

March 9, 2011 11 comments

Check out how our community is already ‘Lighting Up Blue!’

Be sure to download the free ‘Light It Up Blue‘ app from the iTunes store!

Please submit your photos to

An early start to “Light It Up Blue” in Central Ohio

January 25, 2011 3 comments

This guest post is by Kim Niederst, the Area Director of Nationally Managed Walks.

On Friday, January 14, I headed to Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio for the first Autism Puzzle Shootout.  Not knowing what to expect, I was prepared to watch high school boys basketball.  What I found was an army of students and faculty in blue t-shirts with “1 in 110” printed on the front.  It was a true “Blueout” with the entire Dublin Coffman side of the gym in blue shirts – 600 in all!  The players wore the shirts during warm ups, the cheerleaders cheered in their shirts, everyone replaced the tried and true Ohio scarlet and gray and went blue for autism awareness!!

During the week, the Dublin Coffman students sold all 600 tshirts, wristbands, raffle tickets and contenstant slots in minute to win it games which were held during half time.  The students raised $4,000 to benefit Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of Ohio.  A local car dealership joined the effort by donating $5,000 to the cause – so a $9,000 night for Dublin Coffman!  Visit this link for video coverage of the Shootout!

And the fun doesn’t end with Dublin Coffman!  There are 6 more Shootout events scheduled over the next three weeks.

  • Tuesday, January 25 – Westerville South vs. Dublin Scioto
  • Friday, January 28 – Grove City vs. Lancaster
  • Friday, January 28 – Gahanna Lincoln vs. Pickerington Central
  • Friday, February 4 – New Albany vs. Franklin Heights
  • Thursday, February 10 – Hamilton Township vs. Amanda-Clearcreek
  • Saturday, February 12 – Olentangy Orange vs. Olentangy

The Shootout is the brainchild of Jerod Smalley, NBC 4 Sports Director and father of two young boys diagnosed with autism.  Smalley’s concept is to provide high school students with information about the autism epidemic and create a forum where they can show support for awareness and fundraising efforts in Central Ohio.  Students will participate in a “Blueout” at each game and compete with other area schools in a fundraising effort.  The winning school will receive free food for all students.

The Autism Puzzle is Central Ohio’s source for all things relating to autism.  Powered by NBC 4, the Autism Puzzle is showcased through television specials featuring a live web chat and ask the expert phone bank, print magazine and web portal.

In working with NBC 4, I have realized the true power of a media partnership.  Since 2008, NBC 4 has provided countless hours of air time – either through public service announcements or the anchors on the news broadcasts casually encouraging viewers to attend the Columbus Walk Now for Autism Speaks event.  4’s Army has raised well over $25,000 to advance the mission of Autism Speaks.  I am honored  to work with our partners at NBC 4 to increase awareness and understanding of autism spectrum disorders in the local community.

If you live in Central Ohio, please go to an upcoming Autism Puzzle Shootout.  The energy in the gym is electrifying and you may even see yourself on TV as NBC 4 broadcasts live at many of the games.  If you are not a Central Ohioan, check out the Autism Puzzle online at  It is a fabulous resource and who knows you may see the Autism Puzzle at your local station soon!

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If you are a high school interested in hosting an event for Autism Speaks please check out our Student Initiatives Program.

If you are a college student interested in hosting an event please visit Autism Speaks U.

Autism Speaks Fall Classic

September 22, 2010 1 comment

On Monday, September 20, 2010- which was arguably one of the best days of weather we have enjoyed this year- Autism Speaks proudly kicked off its Inaugural Autism Speaks Fall Classic.  Joining us was our title sponsor, Shop Rite, and together we hosted an exciting day of golf at the illustrious Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ.  It was a wonderful day that included an afternoon shotgun start on Baltusrol’s famed Lower Course.  The tournament included several course contests and culminated with a Hole in One by Dr. Peter Kapsimalis who will take away a lease provided by Ray Catena Lexus of Freehold.  We are thrilled to announce that the Fall Classic raised over $200,000 for Autism Speaks!

Evening cocktails included a silent and a live auction that offered an opportunity to help fund family services initiatives for adults with autism.  Honorary Co-Chair and Autism Speaks Co-Founder Bob Wright rolled highlights from the first annual and highly successful “Light It Up Blue” initiative on World Autism Awareness Day, on April 2.  Event Co-Chair and President of The Bachman Company, Scott Carpenter hosted the evening program which included a “Thank You” video with a personal message from himself and fellow event Co-Chairs, Anne & Dave St.Clair.  The video was a touching piece that provided the Baltusrol audience with an overview of what autism is and why their support is so crucial to our cause.

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In Their Own Words – Focusing on the “Cans”

June 27, 2010 6 comments

This “In Their Own Words” essay was submitted by Teresa Greenwood of Hays, Kansas, who has a daughter with autism.

This was my first celebration of World Autism Awareness Day. A year ago I didn’t know that April 2 was anything other than another day on the calendar.

Did I ever think about autism before my two-year-old daughter was diagnosed – no. Sure, I’d heard of it, and I sympathized with families that “had to deal” with a child with a disability. I did not know anyone with a child with autism, however. And I never would have thought it would affect my family, but it has.

Morgan’s diagnosis, and her progress since then, has changed my life for the better. I have more patience than ever before, and more understanding that we have to cherish every blessing we have. I am blessed to have Morgan in my life, and I would not change her in any way. Also, I am blessed with three other children who love their sister and embrace her diagnosis.

Of course, I grieve for the child she could have been without autism, but I also recognize the amazing child she is with it. When I drop her off at daycare and another two year old says “Hi, what’s your name?” I am reminded that Morgan only occasionally says “Momma” and mostly babbles without words. I know that she may never be fully verbal and will probably be in special education classes in school. The odds are she will never live independently. When she becomes excited or upset she will flap her arms uncontrollably. She easily becomes overwhelmed to where she has to drop to her knees and suck on her fingers. She is an extremely picky eater, like most people who have autism, and she has trouble sleeping at times. But I do not dwell on the “can’ts” and the “nevers.” I focus on the “cans.”

Morgan transformed from completely nonverbal with little eye contact to a bright child who babbles constantly. She will hold a pig and say “oink oink.” She will hold a cow and say “mooooo.” She also has a sheep, which says “baaaa.” She holds these animals to a toy hay bale to make them eat. She now waves bye-bye on occassion, and she has used some of the sign language she has learned. She will make a spider sign when she wants to sing “Itsy bitsy spider.” And she will pull her sisters’ hair if they get too close. She will run to her daddy when it is time to pray, and she will come crawl in bed with us in the middle of the night.

Morgan thrives in her therapy and learns quickly. And I can’t thank her therapists enough for taking the time to work with her, to help her become the person she was meant to be. Early intervention is key to successfully living with autism, and Morgan was fortunate enough to be able to experience that.

I watched a video of a speech by Temple Grandin, who has her doctorate’s degree and is a published author … and who also has autism. HBO recently made a movie about her, which I have yet to see. Watching the real Temple give a speech about her life with autism – and her successes since her diagnosis – gives me such hope that there is a place in this world for my daughter’s beautiful mind.

I sympathize with the people glaring at us in church because Morgan is holding her toy cow in the air and yelling “moooooo!” But I am not sorry, because to me there is not a more beautiful sound in the world than my autistic daughter finally finding her voice and saying words. Even if it’s barnyard talk.

On World Autism Awareness Day,  remember autism, and the millions of families affected by this spectrum disorder. Research is continuing so that hopefully, someday, more can be understood about this mystifying disabiliity. Until then, I will continue to grin at my daughter while she talks to her farm animals, being extremely proud of all she has accomplished at such a young age.

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

President Barack Obama Issues Statement Supporting WAAD

April 5, 2010 22 comments

President Barack Obama made a statement on April 2 in support of World Autism Awareness Day. He applauded the many contributions of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
“We are so grateful to have the support from our President, Barack Obama, in recognition of the United Nations sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day celebrated just three days ago on April 2. It is through the ongoing support and recognition that we receive from our international stakeholders and leaders that helps Autism Speaks advance our mission. We are truly thankful for his outstanding proclamation.” said Bob and Suzanne Wright, Autism Speaks’ co-founders.

Empire State Building Lights It Up Blue for Autism Awareness

April 2, 2010 4 comments

Joshua Wong Photography

In commemoration of Autism Speaks’ inaugural “Light It Up Blue” initiative to help shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis, the world famous Empire State Building in New York City turned its lights blue on April 1 – the first day of Autism Awareness Month and the eve of World Autism Awareness Day, April 2.

Autism Speaks Co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright joined Bravo’s Top Chef Host and Executive Chef Tom Colicchio at a “flip the switch” lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building. The ceremony began with remarks from the building’s manager, Joseph Bellina, followed by brief remarks from Bob and Suzanne Wright. Tom Colicchio then spoke about the hardship that autism creates for families, but also about the beautiful unique qualities that individuals with autism have. Colicchio supported Autism Speaks at this event in honor of his nephew Jack, who has autism.

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 The Empire State Building design is a trademark of ESBC and is used with permission.

World Autism Awareness Day Activities with Autism Speaks Canada

April 2, 2010 1 comment

The Toronto skyline with the CN Tower, left, lit up blue for autism awareness

Canada joined the world in honouring the autism community on World Autism Awareness Day. Calgary City Hall, Edmonton City Hall joined Toronto iconic landmarks the CN Tower and the MaRS Centre in lighting it up blue.

Members of Parliament were handed Autism Speaks puzzle piece pins before entering the House of Commons by Jaden Lake, 14-year old son of Mike Lake, MP Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont. Mr. Lake made a statement in the House highlighting the important relationships of siblings of those impacted by autism to honour his own daughter Jenae and the millions of siblings worldwide who play such important roles in the lives of their brothers and sisters with autism.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Team Up Foundation partnered with Autism Speaks Canada on two successful awareness nights with Toronto Raptors (March 31) and Toronto Maple Leafs (April 1). $14,000 was raised by volunteers from Toys”R”Us, Spin Master Toys, and local walk teams, with puzzle pieces present throughout – on coaches, broadcast staff, jumbo-trons.

Autism Speaks Canada Board Member Steven Wise, President of KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation, was presented with a cheque by Molson Canada, donated by Leafs player Phil Kessel in honour of his being named player of the Month for March.

KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation provided funding for an 8-page report on autism in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Family profiles, research updates and information on Walk Now for Autism Speaks and corporate partnerships were highlighted throughout the report. A PDF version can be found at


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