Elliott Tower lights up blue for World Autism Awareness Day

Elliott Tower lights up blue for World Autism Awareness Day
light it up blue 2015

The Oakland University community will be shining a bright light on autism awareness on April 2, joining a worldwide movement to mark World Autism Awareness Day by bringing blue light to the top of the Elliott Tower.

This will be the second year Oakland will host an event on its campus, lighting up the Elliott Tower in blue to highlight autism as a growing global health priority. April 2 was officially adopted by the United Nations’ as World Autism Awareness Day in 2007.

This year, the Oakland University Center for Autism (OUCA) will be holding a free family event for those on the Autism Spectrum on the 2nd floor of the Engineering Center Atrium, at 6 p.m. 

“The OUCA volunteers and the Amplifying Autism Awareness student group have planned lots of food and activities. It will be a fun event” said Meghna Chowdhary, graduate assistant for the OUCA. A short walk to the Elliott Tower will begin at 7:30 p.m. to light the top of the tower with bright blue lights. The OUCA invite community members, students, faculty and staff to join us at the Tower wearing blue.

“For most Michigan families, April 2 is spring break, when folks plan on having fun and taking a break from our long winter,” said Chaturi Edrisinha, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Human Development and Child Studies and director of research for the OUCA.

“But for families that have someone with ASD, there are very few places that they can go to have fun, where their loved one will be welcomed and not just accommodated. We want our families to know that OU welcomes them and is committed to increasing their quality of life.”

The Center for Autism employs a wide range of programs for those with ASD, said Edrisinha. “From the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) clinic; summer camps for kids; recreational programs; youth and adult skill building workshops; community outreach events for parents and families; social hours for adults; to supporting our OU undergraduate and graduate students who are on the ASD spectrum and researching and delivering best practices, the Oakland University Center for Autism does it all.”

Each year since its inception, Light It Up Blue participants wear blue, iconic landmarks are lit up in blue light to spread awareness and understanding of autism, celebrate and honor the unique talents and skills of people with autism and bring attention to the needs of those with autism.

In previous years, more than 100 countries, 1,000 cities and 8,000 landmarks participated in the demonstration. Some notable displays include the Christ the Redeemer in Brazil; the Nelson Mandela Bridge in South Africa; Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia; the Tokyo Tower in Japan; the International Space Station; the Empire State Building in New York and many others.

To learn more about the Oakland University Center for Autism, visit https://wwwp.oakland.edu/hdcs/center-for-autism