The world was lit up blue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, and Conestoga joined in to promote awareness around our campus.
Conestoga’s Accessibility Services office promoted autism awareness by allowing students living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to tell their stories near the Atrium, where anyone could stop by to learn about their friends and classmates living with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
“We’re hoping people will become more aware of the autism spectrum,” said Comfort Afari, a counsellor with Accessibility Services at Conestoga’s Cambridge campus, who also runs an autism support group.
The colour blue has been used around the world to bring awareness to the autism spectrum. The “Light It Up Blue” campaign was created in 2010 by Autism Speaks, an organization that promotes autism research and support.
Landmarks around the globe – including the Empire State Building, the CN Tower and the Sydney Opera House – were lit up blue on the evening of April 1 to celebrate the eve of World Autism Awareness Day.
“Blue is not only a calming colour; it was chosen as a way to illuminate, to show that this disability exists,” Afari said. “They are, first and foremost, people.”
We may not have any iconic landmarks here at Conestoga, but we still lit up blue with a display of information, support and awareness prepared by students with ASD.
“It’s all generated by students,” said Kelly Laurila, a counsellor with Accessibility Services. “They want people to know that they are OK with who they are.”
If you would like to learn more about ASD or the many events held on April 2 to promote awareness, check out autismspeaks.org or drop by the Accessibility Services office located in Room 1A107 at the Doon campus.