The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

March 27, 2012

GHA Autism Supports to ‘light it up blue’ in April

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 — In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, April has been designated as National Autism Awareness Month. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity to educate the general public about autism and issues within the autism community. The fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2.

Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique awareness-raising events. Local autism specialty provider and non-profit organization GHA Autism Supports will be promoting both World Autism Day on April 2 and April as Autism Awareness Month.

As part of World Autism Day, GHA Autism Supports will “Light It Up Blue” on April 2 and throughout the week. The “Light It Up Blue” campaign was created by Autism Speaks, a worldwide autism science and advocacy organization.

“Light It Up Blue,” in its third year, is a unique global initiative by Autism Speaks to help raise awareness about autism as a growing public health concern. Iconic landmarks around the world will enhance their buildings with blue lighting to show their support. This year’s landmarks include the Empire State Building in New York City, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Niagara Falls.  

GHA Autism Supports will light up its administrative office at 213 N. Second St., Albemarle.

GHA Autism Supports would like to encourage all members of the community to purchase blue light bulbs from local lighting supply store and replace outdoor lighting with these blue bulbs to promote autism awareness. In addition, GHA Autism Supports is encouraging their employees and members of the community to wear blue clothing or a “Light It Up Blue” T-shirt on April 2.

Formerly known as Group Homes for the Autistic (GHA), the local non-profit began in 1978 by parents and professionals in our area that recognized the need for such services. Thirty-four years later, the non-profit provides a number of supports to individuals with autism including residential, vocational, educational, supported employment and community services.

Autism Spectrum Disor-der (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects communication, social interaction and behavior. Individuals with ASD typically have difficulty understanding verbal and non-verbal communication and may act inappropriately toward other people, objects and events. ASD is usually diagnosed in early childhood and occurs in approximately one out of every 110 births (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).  

For more information, call GHA Autism Supports Chief Development Officer Beth Olivieri at (704) 982-9600, ext. 125.

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