AC's ADAPT hosts World Autism Day
Wednesday, April 2 was World Autism Awareness Day. This day was selected for autism awareness by the United Nations in 2007 and has been celebrated annually since then. World Autism Awareness Day aims to promote awareness and knowledge about autism. With the rate of autism now at one in 68 children, it is very prevalent around the world. The rate of autism has increased 30 percent since the 2012 rate of one in 88 children, and it has been deemed a “growing global health crisis” by the United Nations. It is important to raise awareness about autism so that children on the spectrum can be diagnosed as early as possible to receive the assistance they may need.
Autism Speaks is an international advocacy organization. Every year on World Autism Awareness Day, they host the Light It Up Blue Campaign. On this day, thousands of buildings around the world are lit up in blue light to promote awareness of autism. This year, some of the buildings that were lit up in blue light were the Empire State Building in New York, the Ada Bridge in Belgrade, Serbia, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, the Torch in Doha, Qatar and the St. Sava Temple in Belgrade, Serbia.
This year, Assumption College joined in to raise awareness about autism, with the help of the Assumption Disability Awareness Promotion Team. From 12 p.m. on April 2 until 12 p.m. on April 3, the front of La Maison Francaise was bathed in blue light. It was best seen after sundown and could be observed by cars passing by on Salisbury Street.
Many people helped ADAPT to host this event. President Francesco Cesareo met with some of the officers of ADAPT on April 1 to approve the event. Blue filters from the Media Center were used to cover the already-existing lights on La Maison, making them tinted blue. Todd Derderian of Buildings and Grounds was able to get the last-minute help of his team to set up the blue filters in time for the event.
“I was really happy that President Cesareo supported the idea and that Assumption could participate in this worldwide event to support autism awareness,” said sophomore Julia Kallis, secretary of ADAPT.
“I’ve been a member of ADAPT for the past three years, and it’s really great to see our campus come together to promote the causes we’ve been working on. It was also really nice to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day by participating in the Light It Up Blue Campaign,” said junior Michael Delude.
“Autism Awareness is important to me because with its growing prevalence it is so important for others to be aware so that all can be accepted and loved for who they are,” said sophomore Meghan Gaughan.
ADAPT was supported by the Campus Activities Board and the Student Government Association, who dressed in blue clothing, along with many other students on April 2 for the event.
ADAPT has worked over the past six years to promote disabilities on campus and also in the Worcester area. They have recently helped Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Clark University to establish their own disability awareness clubs.
On April 10 and 11, ADAPT will continue promoting Autism Awareness Month at the Info Booth in Hagan Campus Center. There will be a banner to sign to show your support for autism awareness.
ADAPT’s next meeting is Tuesday, April 15 at 8 p.m. New members are always welcome.