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Shippensburg University Joins in World Autism Day Event

Shippenburgh University
Staff Writer

Shippensburg University’s Old Main tower was bathed in blue Monday as part of the Light It Up Blue campaign on World Autism Day.

Light It Up Blue, in its third year, is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern related to autism, according to the organizing group Autism Speaks. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support, the group said.

According to the group’s website, in 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to bring the world’s attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. World Autism Awareness Day activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism crisis and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. The day also celebrates the unique talents and skills of people with autism, and features community events around the world where individuals with autism and their families are warmly welcomed and embraced.

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders — autism spectrum disorders — caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences, according to the group. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum — a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

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Date: 4/13/2012