Raise funds on Autism Awareness Day
By David Sharos For The Sun March 11, 2013 5:02PM
Students, parents and faculty gather Monday at Park School in Orland Park to kick off Autism Awareness Month. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
The pervasive condition that goes under the umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder will be in the spotlight April 2. The blue spotlight.
On that date, which is World Autism Awareness Day, activists are asking for the community to show its support for the early diagnosis and intensive therapy seen as key elements in “outcomes that only a few years ago didn’t seem possible,” Naperville’s own Little Friends said in announcing the “light up blue” initiative.
Advocates can display their support by replacing outdoor lights with blue LED light bulbs, available at Home Depot, or adding blue filters or tinted gel to the bulbs that are burning now.
“Showing support can be as simple as wearing blue clothing or blue jewelry,” Kim Bus, Little Friends’ marketing and public relations director, wrote in the emailed announcement. “Blue eye shadow and blue nail polish might make a comeback on April 2 and is a fashion statement with a purpose.”
Little Friends provides services for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Find out more about what they do at www.littlefriendsinc.org.
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:09AM
Autism among children and adults has unfortunately become one of the fastest growing disorders within the population today. Next month the Turning Pointe Autism Foundation in Naperville is ready to unleash a first-time effort to raise awareness about it.
Beginning at 7 a.m. April 2 at its north campus, 1500 W. Ogden Ave., the foundation plans to hold a pep rally that will include a continental breakfast and a variety of speakers from local organizations serving the autism community.
Lauren Visher, director of development, said the pep rally has been designed to serve a number of purposes.
“April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 has been designated as the worldwide Autism Awareness Day,” Visher said. “We want to let people in the area know that there is a growing need for services and support by inviting anyone and everyone to come and participate in this rally with us.”
Visher said that statistics about the disorder have reached alarming proportions in a relatively short time, particularly in regards to children.
“About 10 to 15 years ago, the number of kids with autism was about 1 in 10,000, whereas today that number has dramatically increased to 1 out of 88,” she said. “There are a lot of theories as to why this is happening, but our focus here is to provide support and help people achieve a quality life as they navigate the journey.”
Visher said she is also excited about support activities that will take place throughout the month that will include donations generated from local and surrounding area car dealerships as well as Walgreens stores throughout the Chicago area.
“Many of our local car dealerships here in Naperville as well as areas outside the city like Oak Lawn are going to offer a Test Drive for Autism program where we’ll receive a donation of $20 for every test drive customers take at their dealership,” she said. “In addition, all of the 250 Walgreens stores throughout Chicago will offer customers a chance to donate to autism when they check out at the counter.”
Those interested in attending the event should RSVP by March 29 by either calling Visher at 630-615-6060 or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org