World Autism Awareness Day April 2: 1 of 3 health issues to be recognized by the UN with its own day

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - You'll be seeing a lot of blue on Wednesday as communities throughout our area, across the nation and internationally participate in the Light It Up Blue campaign that's part of April's Autism Awareness Month activities.

With the urging of Autism Speaks co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright, the United Nations declared April 2 World Autism Awareness Day in 2007. The goal of the day is to shine a bright, blue light on autism as a growing health issue.

For example, the Royal Park Bridge linking West Palm Beach and Palm Beach will be lit in blue every night in April. A formal lighting ceremony was held last week featuring the Wrights with WPTV NewsChannel 5's Michael Williams serving as master of ceremonies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have named autism the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.

Just last week, the CDC said the number of autism cases is growing. It reported 1 in 68 children are on the autism spectrum , an increase from 1 in 88 children it had previously reported. In its study, the CDC also reported autism is 5 times more common in boys than girls.

Another purpose of World Autism Awareness Day is to stress the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. The CDC says autism can be diagnosed when a child is 2-years-old.

According to the CDC, it costs at least $17,000 more per year to care for a child on the autism spectrum than it does for a child without autism. Those costs include health care, therapy and caregiver time. It estimates that in the case of a child with a more severe form of autism, the costs are more than $21,000 a year.  

Send your Autism Awareness Day photos to youreport@wptv.com .

Here is a list of area locations that will be lighting up their buildings in blue to celebrate Autism Awareness Day.

Palm Beach Outlets
Chesterfield Hotel
City Place
City Place South Towers
Ferrari/Maserati of Palm Beach
Four Seasons Resort
Helander Studio
Jupiter Lighthouse
Kravis Center
Michael Kors Palm Beach
Norton Museum of Art 
Paramount Building
PB County Convention Center
PBAU
Sailfish Club
SAKS FIFTH AVE.
South Florida Ford Dealers
South Florida Science Museum
St. Edward Church
The Breakers Resort
The Colony
The Kravis Center
Gulfstream Bistro & Seafood Restaurant
Palm Beach Outlets
WPTV/WFLX
Alex & Ani
Provident
Yoway
Okeechobee Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram
ER Bradley's
Royal Park Bridge
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Palm Beach  County’s Sheriff’s Office
West Gate Elementary K-Kids
West Gate Elementary 


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