Landmark to reflect Autism Awareness Day
March, 30, 2015
LaGrange College will be in good company Thursday as it lights the clock tower blue in observance of World Autism Awareness Day.
Landmarks across the world will unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families affected by autism. Also turning blue for the cause will be the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Niagara Falls, One World Trade Center, Empire State Building – and even the International Space Station.
The college has shown support for autism awareness in other events, including Autism Hoops in February, when the men's basketball players donned blue socks. Both men's and women's teams are sponsoring Thursday's event.
Autism is a condition that is familiar to some players. Kelsey Mitchell, a junior on the women's basketball team, said it is something very close to her heart.
"My mom is a support coordinator and works directly with people who have autism," she said. "When I was growing up, I had the privilege to meet a lot of her clients with autism, and they are such great individuals. They brighten my day every time I'm around them."
Freshman basketball player Richard Howell said autism touched his family.
"I had a close cousin who was autistic," he said. "Autism awareness is needed to educate others on this crippling disease. Kids who have autism shouldn't be left behind because they learn things a little slower than everyone else."
For Junior Mike White, the cause is much more personal.
"At an early age, I was diagnosed with Asperger's, an acute form of autism, which affects social interaction, motor skills and difficulty with verbal communication," he said. "Through therapy, I was able to cope with it and live a normal life.
"Just like myself, there are people who deal with many different forms of autism. However, others find it harder to cope and require close attention," he continued. "This does not make them any different than me, you or anyone else you may know. They are just as loving, just as compassionate and are warm-hearted individuals who see the good in everyone. With education about autism, the world will begin to understand and avoid discrimination of people with this disorder."
For more information about Light It Up Blue and World Autism Awareness Day, visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/liub.