Light It Up Blue

This year’s Light It Up Blue event at the UMass Medical School (UMMS) to promote World Autism Awareness Day was held on April 2 at the Worcester campus. Hosted by the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Initiative (CANDI) team at UMMS the event was cosponsored by Massachusetts Act Early, Autism Resource Center of Central MA, and the new Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDo). In addition to a Provider Fair and a movie, the schedule included a short program of speakers:

  • Elaine Gabovitch, MPA, Director of Family and Community Partnerships at the Shriver Center and State Team Leader/CDC Ambassador for the MA Act Early state effort, shared information about what the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign offers to families, educators and clinicians through outreach, training and early identification efforts. See the MA Act Early website for free brochures, booklets and referral information customized for Massachusetts as well as other information for those who care for and work with individuals on the autism spectrum.

  • Sue Loring, Director of the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts, who served on the Massachusetts Autism Commission, gave the highlights of the 13 priority areas in the commission report released last month. Amy Weinstock, of the Shriver Center, is another of the commissioners who contributed to the report.

  • Jean Frazier, MD, Vice Chair of Psychiatry and the Siff Chair in Autism, announced the exciting launch of the CANDo clinic this summer. She highlighted the great need that the CANDo will fill in the central and western parts of Massachusetts, and the interdisciplinary approach the clinic will use in meeting the needs of children, adolescents and families.

The community event culminated in the lighting of the medical school building in dramatic blue light, along with buildings around the world, to help shine a light on autism.