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

Light It Up Blue, now in its fifth year, is a global initiative to raise awareness about autism, according to the organizing group Autism Speaks. Landmarks around the world will display blue to show their support, the group said.

The university has previously participated in the event.

Autism and autism spectrum disorder 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 being on the autism spectrum, according to the Autism Speaks’ website. An estimated one out of 54 boys and one in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. ASD is estimated to affect more than 2 million individuals in the United States and tens of millions worldwide.

(4) comments


Many of us in the autism community wonder how many more years we'll be asking for awareness for a disorder with no known cause or cure.

These have been the stunning increases in autism:

1980: 1 in 10,000

1995: 1 in 500

2001: 1 in 250

2004: 1 in 166

2007: 1 in 150

2009: 1 in 110

2012: 1 in 88

2013: 1 in 50

With each leap in the rate, health officials said it was merely "better diagnosing" of a condition that's always been around, and no real increase at all. Despite knowing nothing about the disorder no one at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never called autism a crisis.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


Your statistic of more than 2 million individuals with autism in the U.S. is not correct. That comes from applying the one in 88 rate across the whole population. The truth is autism is a disorder that overwhelmingly affects CHILDREN. The rate of one in 88 came from studies of eight year olds, not eighty year olds. No one has ever been able to show us a comparable rate among adults, especially adults with severe autism, whose symptoms are easily recognized. That simple fact should be scaring us all. Maybe when this generation of disabled children ages out of school and is dependent on the taxpayers for its support and care we'll do more than just light things up in blue.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


It would be wonderful if April addressed what autism is actually doing to our children, if there were calls for action and answers, if health officials were made to account for millions of wasted research dollars.

To understand what this disorder is really like for countless thousands of families, see the new novel, The Autism War.
This is by Louis Conte, father of triples, two of whom have autism. It describes how autism affects children and families and how society is being forced to accommodate an epidemic of disabled children no one in mainstream medicine can reasonably explain.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


Five year is already too long to be dressing up in blue lights. A decade and a half is more than long enough to promote "autism awareness." We are aware andhave been for years. We need a cause and a cure, not blue lights to remind us that the government, doctors and the media have done nothing for the autism community in over a decade except promote awareness.
Maurine Meleck, SC
grandmother to 1 in 31(vaccine injured)

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