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Autism Speaks: Let's Listen

Light It Up Blue!

Autism Speaks, the national advocacy organization, has asked people to literally shine a light on autism today and “Light It Up Blue” in honor of World Autism Awareness Day. “Whether it’s your front porch or your local city hall, an office party or a banquet, the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism,” according to LightItUpBlue.org.

Recent figures from the CDC show that autism spectrum diagnoses have jumped 78% in the past decade. Now one in every 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. In other words, chances are good that you know a child on the autism spectrum.

In an example of using social media for good, mom bloggers and others on Twitter, Facebook, and throughout the internet are raising awareness about autism. On Twitter, just search the hashtag #Autism to read posts from mothers whose children are on the autistic spectrum. @MySecretLife01 tweeted “On World Autism Day, I would just like to say that I love my son more than life itself and wouldn’t change his diagnosis for the world.” Meanwhile, DoSomething.org tweeted, “More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.”

Tech companies are lending support to the campaign for awareness. Twitter has donated an online advertising campaign to encourage the world to Tweet about Light It Up Blue via the hashtag #LIUB. Google is participating in Light It Up Blue by lighting six of its buildings blue — including buildings in Seoul, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Microsoft, AOL, and Barnes and Noble are also doing their part to raise awareness.

An Autism Speaks text messaging service will support the online Light It Up Blue campaign. By texting “LIUB” to 30644, users can get access to additional content, information and news. There’s also a Light It Up Blue app for iPhone and Android.

Babble writers have covered the topic of autism extensively from various perspectives. Over at Strollerderby, Joslyn Gray writes about how often people will comment that her kids don’t “look autistic.” Gray asked readers of her blog to send photos of their kids on the autism spectrum to highlight the diversity of people with autism. Gray compiled the photos to create this wonderful video:

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In the first year of the “Light It Up Blue” campaign, 200 structures worldwide lit up in blue. Last year, there were 2,000, including The Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, and The Empire State Building. This year, organizers are hoping for 4,000.

Will you Light It Up Blue? What else will you do to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day?

Read more of Paula’s writing at her web site.

And follow Paula on Twitter!

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