University to join in World Autism Day event April 2

Shippensburg University’s Old Main tower will again be bathed in blue April 2 as part of the Light It Up Blue campaign on World Autism Day.

Light It Up Blue, in its fifth year, is a global initiative to help raise awareness about autism, according to the organizing group Autism Speaks. Iconic landmarks around the world will be blue to show their support, the group said. The university has previously participated in the event.  

Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder (sometimes referred to as “classic autism”), Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified and Asperger syndrome.

Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify around one in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum, according to Autism Speaks’ website. An estimated one out of 54 boys and one in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the U.S. ASD is estimated to affect more than 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide.