Annual “Light It Up Blue” campus event raises awareness about autism
April 2, 2017, all locations – On April 2nd, American Institute campuses joined the world in celebrating “Light it up Blue” to help raise awareness about autism. Many staff and students came to class wearing blue, signifying their support for research and programs that assist the rising number of children and adults who live with autism.
“We celebrate Light It Up Blue because this is a very important cause, and many of our students, faculty and staff are directly affected by autism,” said West Hartford Campus President Tim Bush. “It also ties into American Institute’s learning experience, because we value service. We want to get our students involved in outside events to create a connection with the community.”
Light It Up Blue is an annual event created by the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks. It coincides with the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day and launches World Autism Month.
In cities and communities worldwide, homes, businesses, iconic buildings and landmarks – including the White House – are “lit blue” for a day. Autism Speaks also sponsors community events and educational activities to increase understanding and acceptance and promote support for people with autism.
“American Institute has participated in Light it Up Blue for several years, and we are happy to join in that tradition in the new Somerset campus as well” added Somerset Campus President, Jamil Gilmer. “We all dress in blue and take photos of everyone who participates to help spread awareness.”
According to Autism Speaks, autism spectrum disorders refer to a range of conditions that can include difficulty with social skills, repetitive behaviors, communication challenges and other issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates autism affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, and rates of diagnosis have risen over the past decade.
“Many pathologies are studied by our students because we are an allied health school,” said Mr. Bush. “Light It Up Blue is an opportunity for our students to research and learn about autism while they see it in their social media and news feeds as well.”