Lighting consultants and engineers were busy changing color filters to create a blue hue for St. Louis for World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday April 2, 2019. The effort lighting businesses and landmarks kicks off a number of initiatives by St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks for World Autism Awareness Month in April.
“We continue to advance understanding and acceptance,” noted Greg Yawitz, chairman of St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks’ board. “With autism now diagnosed in one out of 59 children, the breadth of the spectrum means just about everyone knows someone living with autism. Those on the spectrum can be significantly impaired while others are found in the workplace, in college and raising families of their own. Understanding the puzzle of autism and the breadth of the spectrum is at the heart of Autism Speaks fundraising and awareness efforts.” Autism Speaks is asking people worldwide to take the pledge to increase understanding and acceptance at AutismSpeaks.org/WAM.
Autism impacts more than 70 million people worldwide. Among the awareness Autism Speaks will advance throughout the year are:
- Research indicates that stigma and denial can delay a diagnosis of autism, particularly in lower socioeconomic populations where the average age of diagnosis is significantly higher than in the general population.
- People with autism learn, think and problem-solve in different ways – from highly skilled to severely challenged, and may require supports that can range from minimal to intensive.
- Many people with autism have sensory sensitivities that impact their daily lives. Medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues, often accompany autism.
HOK will be among several businesses participating in the April 2, 2019 Light it up Blue for Autism Speaks. Others include West County Shopping Center, Scott Air Force Base, the Lumiere Place Casino and Four Seasons Hotel, James S. McDonnell Planetarium, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and more. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and its Electrical Connection partnership with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) will participate through its long-time sponsorship of the Planetarium lighting.
Autism Speaks also has a number of events in the coming months to advance awareness and fundraising including:
- The April 17, 2019 Autism Speaks’ 8th Annual Chefs Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Mo.
- The May 5, 2019 Autism Speaks Go Blue Run in Clayton, Mo.
- The August 31, 2019 Louis Cardinal game that will feature autism awareness.
- The October 12, 2019 Autism Walk in Forest Park.
For more information, visit Autism Speaks St. Louis’ Facebook page. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. For more information, visit www.autismspeaks.org.