10 Reasons You Should ‘Light It Up Blue’ on World Autism Awareness Day

In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd of each year as World Autism Awareness Day. A few years later, a global autism awareness initiative to honor the day was born — Light It Up Blue. Every April 2nd, people all over the world “shine a light” on autism by wearing blue, making their social media profiles blue for the day or shining bright blue lights outside their homes.

My personal connection with this day started almost 23 years ago when I was diagnosed with autism. I dealt with countless obstacles. I wish I’d had a “Light It Up Blue” campaign to start a pivotal conversation about how to improve the lives of those with autism.

Today, I can say I’ve overcome many of my obstacles. I’ve become a national speaker, a bestselling author and an employee with Autism Speaks. I now work closely with the Light It Up Blue campaign, and it’s been a dream scenario in many ways. I’m proud to report that for the third year in a row, the city hall in my home town, Jersey City, New Jersey, will be “lighting up blue.”

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In honor of the day, here are 10 reasons I believe you should go blue on World Autism Awareness Day.

10. More than 3.5 million Americans and counting are living with autism. This year, in all our materials we’re making it our mission to tell people that we’re dedicating this campaign to helping them as much as we can.

9. To help encourage our politicians to enact legislation in all 50 states that will help people living with autism. By “lighting it up blue,” we can raise awareness about autism to our public officials, which will hopefully initiate more of a push to help our community.

8. It helps support autism research. Autism Speaks has been around for 10 years now and has put $525 million dollars toward our mission. We want to help find out what causes autism so we can help people with autism progress.

7. It’s a great way to meet new people in our community. This April 2nd, you’ll probably find one or two people who are either wearing blue, posting about blue on social media or lighting their houses blue. When you do this, you open yourself up to engaging with our community in a unique way.

6. The blue lights look amazing. Buildings and events all over the world went blue last year. Some of the most iconic landmarks in the world have gone blue, and it’s a beautiful sight every year. Using blue Phillips light bulbs at your house looks just as cool.

5. It’s fun! This year, Autism Speaks came out with a Light It Up Blue “selfie sign” that people can use to tell us where around the world they will be going blue.

4. It shows those in our autism community that they’re not alone. Many times when I consult with parents who have loved ones on the spectrum, they mention they feel alone or not part of the community. Even if you’re not personally affected by autism, you can show your support with Light It Up Blue and give people who are affected a light to look toward.

3. It supports people like me. I wish more than anything that Light It Up Blue existed when I was diagnosed with autism at age 4. Now when I see people go blue, I see that there’s so much awareness being spread around to help those who know or are personally affected by autism.

2. Approximately 500,000 individuals with autism will reach adulthood within the next decade. When we “light it up blue,” we have the opportunity to share with our community that autism is a lifelong disorder and kids with autism are growing up before our eyes.

1. It can help start a conversation. More than anything else, we hope Light It Up Blue will give us the opportunity to educate the world about autism and help better our community.

Need help getting started? Click here to learn five ways you can Light It Up Blue on World Autism Awareness Day.

Register here to tell us where you will be “lighting it up blue” this year.

This post originally appeared on KerryMagro.com.

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