Going Blue for World Autism Awareness Day with Maple

Going Blue for World Autism Awareness Day with Maple

Join the autism community on April 2nd to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day!

One percent of the world’s population lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). That’s 79 million people across the globe and we’re pretty sure a significant proportion of these global advocates have something blue in their wardrobe. Why not don your favourite blue outfit to help us raise awareness for Autism on 2nd April, 2022?

There is so much we can do to raise awareness around autism spectrum disorder and by celebrating World Autism Awareness Day with us, you can too!

But as noted by Autism Awareness Australia CEO, Nicole Rogerson, “Our World Autism Awareness Day ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign is about more than just colour that has come to define it – it’s about recognising the very real and difficult challenges that face families affected by autism.”

Why is World Autism Awareness Day Celebrated?

Investigation and research surrounding autism is still in full swing. With past and ongoing research, we’ve come to understand a lot about the illness, including that ASD is diagnosed in males significantly more than it is in females. This isn’t because it occurs less often in females; rather, girls often go undiagnosed because they don’t fit the autism stereotypes and they mask symptoms better than boys do. 

To spread awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder, to help recognise the symptoms, increase our own understanding and promote kindness and inclusivity, we celebrate Autism Awareness Day on 2nd April, each year. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18th December, 2007 to encourage members of state to take action in raising awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Why Do We Wear Blue on Autism Awareness Day?

On 2nd April every year, the world will turn blue in honour of World Autism Awareness Day. The reason we go blue is due to the campaign “Light it Up Blue” spearheaded by the organisation Autism Speaks that aims to foster understanding and acceptance for those with autism.

Participants and supporters are encouraged to wear blue, join events around the world, and use the hashtag #LightItUpBlue to help raise awareness. You may see landmarks across the globe like large buildings, arenas, or tourist attractions light up blue in support of the cause.

How to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

You can find different ways to participate in and celebrate World Autism Awareness Day in your community and encourage friends, family, and coworkers to join you. We collated a list of ideas to help you along the way:

Learn more about autism spectrum disorder

Only within the last century have we seen the discovery, development, and treatments for autism. The term was first ‘coined’ in the early 1900s to describe a specific cluster of symptoms of those with schizophrenia and extreme social withdrawal.

Two very important articles paved the way for autism research and helped to classify autism as a disorder separate from schizophrenia. In 1943 paediatric psychiatrist Dr. Leo Kanner characterised autism as a social and emotional disorder in his article “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact”; and in 1944, Dr. Hans Asperger published a definition of autistic psychopathology describing autism as a disorder of normal intelligent children who have difficulties with social and communication skills. 

In 1973, Dr. Ivar Lovaas created what is now known as Applied Behavioural Analysis or ABA therapy. It is currently viewed as one of the most effective therapies for children with autism to develop language and behaviour skills.

In 2013, the notion of autism as a spectrum was considered by the ‘American Psychiatric Association.’ They combined all subcategories of autism and related conditions into one unified category to create the spectrum which includes the varied characteristics, severity and presentation of symptoms.

Light It Up Blue

Light it up blue is the campaign spearheaded by Autism Speaks. To participate in this campaign, you can wear blue, use blue light bulbs around your home, school or workplace, change your social media colours to blue or post blue photos and spread awareness about autism. Any or all of these actions can spark healthy conversations around autism, reduce the stigma, and help us celebrate our differences.

In many cities across the world, you may see businesses and landmarks lighting up their premises with blue lighting. Iconic places such as the Empire State Building, Trafalgar Square, and the Pyramids will be lighting up blue on April 2nd.

Watch out for spots that are lighting it up blue. If you don’t see any, you can reach out to your local government or businesses to share the Light it Up Blue campaign and see if they are willing to participate to spread awareness.

Wear blue or puzzle pieces

The colour blue and puzzle pieces are universally recognised as representation of autism awareness. Don your favourite blue outfit or make something you can wear out of puzzle pieces to get the autism conversation flowing.

Support autism-friendly businesses and organisations

Many businesses and organisations will be celebrating Autism Awareness Day with their own events and other ways to raise awareness. Many forward thinking businesses are actively seeking to hire neurodiverse employees and create work opportunities for those with disabilities. Watch out for them in your community and help to promote, patronise, or join them.

Join events or fundraisers

Celebrate and advocate by joining events or fundraisers. Look for events near you to join or volunteer with or create one yourself. This could simply be a get together for like minded people willing to learn and share stories, or elaborate events aimed at raising money for the cause. Reach out to local neurodiverse associations to find out if they have any events taking place. 

Share your story

Sharing our stories is one of the best ways to reduce stigma and create a better world of understanding. Although it can make us vulnerable, it can also generate support. You don’t have to do it on World Autism Awareness Day but you may find it a good time to start. If public speaking isn’t for you, you could reach out to a local publication or a reputable blog where you can share your story in writing or even anonymously. 

Spread kindness

Any act of kindness can make an impact  in someone’s life and is a powerful way to show others you care. It can also be contagious and helps encourage others to pass it on! Make the world a more inclusive place and help to spread kindness and positivity with a simple act.

An act of kindness could simply be paying a stranger a compliment, stopping by your neighbours with some cookies, or buying someone a coffee in the queue behind you. It also releases endorphins in our brain that help us feel good so it’s a win-win situation.

Events for World Autism Awareness Day

#AmbassadorsForAutism

Autism Awareness Australia are hosting their #AmbassadorsForAutism during the month of April to celebrate and showcase the complex and beautiful diversity of our autism community. Every day during the month, they will share each ambassador through their social media platforms ‘to give people the opportunity to meet these proud, diverse and impressive individuals.’

Whether you wish to join as an ambassador, follow along or share your story or share the campaign with family, friends, colleagues or school mates, everyone is welcome.

Family Fun Day for Autism Awareness Month

Join the Family Fun Day at the Bicycle Education Centre on 2nd April 2022 to celebrate Autism Awareness Month. Macarthur Autism Spectrum Family Support Group in Partnership with Macarthur Disability Services invites you to bring your bike or scooter in Campbelltown, NSW. Macarthur Disability Services is putting on Dominoes Pizzas for everyone.

Achieving Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum

Join Malcolm Mayfield as he discusses the challenges of Mental Health for those living with Autism on 4th May 2022. The Murray Bridge Suicide prevention Network present Malcolm Mayfield, the founder and Managing Director of Autism STAR Pty Ltd, and Board member of the Autism CRC to speak about his experience with mental health challenges living with autism. A light dinner will be provided.