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Landmark College Lights It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

Posted: Apr 01 2014

Contact: Mark DiPietro 802.387.1632 Email Mark DiPietro

Strauch Family Student Center will be illuminated on April 2

by Solvegi Shmulsky

What do the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, and a research station in Antarctica have in common? They will join thousands of buildings across the world turning on a massive display of blue lights in observance of the eighth annual United Nation’s World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). On Wednesday, April 2, at 6:30 p.m. Landmark College will light up the Strauch Family Student Center in observance of Light It Up Blue day. With blue glow sticks and blue-frosted cookies, students and College community members will gather on the upper campus to share a moment acknowledging neurodiversity and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Like ADHD and dyslexia, ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition—it is rooted in brain development and first becomes apparent in childhood or even infancy. ASD has diverse manifestations, but challenges in the social realm are a central feature. On March 28, the Centers for Disease Control released a study showing that one in 68 children has ASD, which is a 30 percent increase over prevalence estimates two years ago.

How will Landmark College Participate?

A cross-departmental creative team worked on the April 2 event, registering the College as a participant, planning the logistics of lighting, and communicating with the community. Students, faculty, and staff will be invited to gather outside Edward Durell Stone Hall at 6:30 p.m. From the hilltop vantage point, the group will see the lit-up Strauch Family Student Center. Inside the Center, colored sleeves will encase the overhead fluorescent lights and blue spotlights will shine from the windows—lighting up like thousands of other buildings across the world. This event is sponsored by the Office of the President, Dr. Peter Eden.

Dean of Students Michael Luciani explained the value of showing respect and understanding for fellow classmates and students, which includes individuals who are affected by ASD.

“Everyone has earned a place here and this is where we all belong,” said Luciani. "Light it Up Blue allows us to celebrate the talents, perspectives and contributions of our own students within the Landmark College community while standing in support of individuals and families across the country and across the world.”

Information on Light It Up Blue and WAAD from Autism Speaks.org

Each April 2, Autism Speaks celebrates Light It Up Blue along with the international autism community, in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. Light It Up Blue is a unique global initiative that kicks-off Autism Awareness Month and helps raise awareness about autism. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part to Light It Up Blue.

World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated on April 2 annually, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities increase and develop world knowledge of the autism crisis and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe. Autism is one of only three health issues to be recognized by the United Nations with its own day.

Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today Landmark College, offering two and four-year degree options, a graduate level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently, is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, ADHD, and ASD. Students, faculty, and other professionals from all over the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model—designed through research and practice to help all students who learn differently become confident, self-empowered, and independently successful learners.