Join us as we “Light It Up Blue” on Tuesday, April 2 to Commemorate World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month

Local and national landmarks across the world will “Light It Up Blue” in solidarity

Monday, April 01, 2019

​For the seventh year in a row, landmarks and buildings throughout Virginia Beach will be illuminated in blue, beginning at dusk on Tuesday, April 2, to bring awareness to World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month. Sponsored by Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, the "Light It Up Blue" campaign helps raise awareness for the more than 70 million people worldwide living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Mayor Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer said, "Virginia Beach is a caring community, and I am proud that our City is bringing awareness to this disorder. Symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life, and it is my hope that all Virginia Beach children are screened."  Mayor Dyer will also proclaim and recognize April 2019 as Autism Awareness Month and requests all citizens join him in this special observance.

On April 2, blue lighting will be turned on at the following locations throughout Virginia Beach:

  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center – 717 General Booth Blvd.
  • Virginia Beach Convention Center Tower – 1000 19th St.
  • Virginia Beach Municipal Center, Building 30 – 2508 Princess Anne Rd.
  • Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art – 2200 Parks Ave.
  • Law Enforcement Memorial – 35th Street at the Boardwalk
  • Wave Sculpture – 31st Street - Laskin Road Roundabout
  • Atkinson Realty – 932 Laskin Rd.
  • Atkinson Realty – 5307 Atlantic Ave.
  • Atkinson Realty – 2106 Great Neck Square
  • Tautog's Restaurant – 205 23rd St.
  • Doc Taylor's Restaurant – 207 23rd St.  
  • Beach Ford – 2717 Virginia Beach Blvd.

In addition to the lighting of public buildings, other events include:

  • April 6 – 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
    First responders from across Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, are partnering with Autism Speaks to hold a Safety Fair in Parking Lot D of Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • April 13 – 2-3:30 p.m.
    Swim. Play. Learn. Autism Safety in H20 – Great Neck Recreation Center Pool. Free water safety event for ages 5-21 with autism.
    Participants will experience both in water and on land water safety scenarios while learning basic skills to stay safe around aquatic environments. Scenarios include pool rules, boating safety and assisting others using basic techniques.
  • April 14 – 7:30-9 a.m.
    Special Needs Under the Sea – Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum. Cost: Free for Members; $24.95 Non-member adults; $19.95 Non-member children.
    Join us as we invite families with children or adults with special needs to visit the Aquarium before it opens to the general public. See all our animals and exhibits in a calm, comfortable, sensory-friendly environment and explore at your own pace. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. and continues until 9 a.m., but guests may stay as long as they like after the doors open to the public.

Participants will include the City of Virginia Beach, the Leadership Virginia Autism Foundation, Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater, the Autism Society of America Tidewater Chapter and Autism Speaks. 

Throughout the month of April, Virginia Beach area residents, schools and businesses can lend their additional support by getting involved in four key ways:  

  • Illuminate: Change your white bulbs to blue. Light up your home, business, school, place of worship or website to show your support.
  • Wear a blue t-shirt, scarf, tie, etc., and make sure your friends, coworkers or classmates do, too!
  • Turn your Facebook or Twitter profile picture blue. Use hashtag #LIUB

Visit www.autismspeaks.org/how-light-it-blue for more fun and creative ways that you can support your neighbors and friends.

Last, but not least, don't miss our latest edition of "Pursuit of Purpose" – Autism Buddies, which shows how much just a little of your time can change the life of a child and parent.

Autism
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. Most forms of autism are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, and many are accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 59 children is on the autism spectrum.
Source: CDC

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