Blue lights mark Autism Awareness Day

“Light it Up Blue” underscores UMMS commitment to autism research and treatment

By Sandra Gray and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

April 04, 2011


autism blue

For the second year in a row, UMass Medical School participated in “Light it up Blue” on Friday, April 1, to raise awareness of autism. Created by Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, Light it up Blue is a public awareness campaign in which landmark buildings around the world are bathed in blue light for World Autism Awareness Day. UMass Medical School will also affirm its commitment to advancing understanding and treatment of autism by awarding Autism Speaks co-founders Bob and Susan Wright honorary degrees at Commencement 2011 this June.

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of complex developmental disabilities that can cause social, communication and behavioral challenges, affecting as many as one in 110 children in the United States. World Autism Awareness Day was established in 2007 by a resolution passed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly, making autism one of only three health issues to be recognized by the U.N. in such a way, and underscoring the disorder’s devastating public health impact. 

Also part of the Medical School's recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry hosted a viewing of the HBO movie "Temple Grandin" prior to the building lighting. Community providers for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families were also on hand in the Medical School lobby with information about their services. 

Watch UMassMedNow for more on initiatives in autism research, education and service underway at UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI) in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 



Click here to view this year's "Light it up Blue" presentation:

About Autism Speaks 

Co-founded in 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism, Autism Speaks has committed more than $142 million to research and the development of innovative new resources for families. Bob Wright served as vice chairman of General Electric and CEO of NBC and NBC Universal for more than 20 years; Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. For more information, visit

Related links:

Autism Speaks founders will receive honorary degrees  
Passionate advocate links community to Shriver Center 
Tea with MDs connects community with child and adolescent psychiatry experts 
The Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI) 
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center 

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