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Go Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

March 30, 2016
Estherville News

The eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2016. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. One of the seven wonders of the world, Petra, the archeological site in the desert of Jordan, will light it up blue for the day. Other locations putting up their blue lights include Macy's in Herald Square and Bloomingdales at 59th Street, New York City, the New York sanitation trucks, the Suez Canal in Egypt, Blue Man Group (though don't they do that every day?), the Skyscraper Center in Taipei, Taiwan, the eighth tallest building in the world, Madison Square Garden, Temple Emmanu-El, one of the largest synagogues in the world, Capital Records Tower in Los Angeles, the Canadian National Tower, the tallest structure in Canada, One World Trade Center, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the world's tallest building, and others.

In 2015, the blue lit up seven continents, 142 countries, and 18,602 buildings, according to Autism Speaks.

According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children now has a diagnosis of autism, up from 1 in 88 just a few years ago, and hardly any diagnosed cases just a couple of decades ago. Increased awareness, the inclusion of more high functioning cases, and tools for diagnosis only explains a portion of the increase. A study of the prevalence of autism in Iowa eight year olds during the 2009-2010 school year found Iowa's rate was 1 in 767, the lowest in the nation, approximately half that of Oklahoma, number 49. This data did not show children being homeschooled, otherwise not in school, or receiving home services, which suggests many Iowa children with autism are not in our public schools. Our neighbor, Minnesota, has the highest prevalence of autism in its public schools, 1 in 65.

We feel raising awareness of autism in our neighbors, children's classmates, and all around us will eventually lead to more funding for research, better educational and career choices, and less expense to families and the public.



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