Every year, as the sun sets on April 2, world renown landmarks around the globe light up in blue in support of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).
Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges in social skills, speech and nonverbal communications and restricted and repetitive behavior.
Autism is also sometimes referred to as autism spectrum disorder, given that different people suffer from its severity differently, and is believed to be caused by several genetic and environmental influences.
As of 2015, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) estimated that, globally, 24.8 million individuals are on the autism spectrum.
In attempt to combat the taboos surrounding autism and raise more awareness, the number of rights movements and campaigns has increased over the years, to encourage more tolerance of autistic individuals.
A lot of those campaigns focus on how autism is a difference that requires being accepted within all aspects of society, not a disease that seeks a cure.
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed down resolution 62/139, recognizing April 2 as the international WAAD.
The UN also encourages its member states to work towards raising awareness and acceptance of autism.
Light It Up Blue encourages states to partake in lighting buildings and landmarks in support of those affected.
It also encourages individuals to partake in the initiative by using blue light bulbs in their homes and wearing blue.
Every year on April 2, you will often see a sea of blue balloons towering over your head wherever you may be during the day.
You will probably spot plenty of people walking around in blue merchandise, whether it’s blue shirts, blue pins or blue bags; with proceeds going to autism research.
As the day nears its end, airports, bridges, buildings, concert halls, hospitals, museums, restaurants, stores, and towers on all seven continents light up blue.
Previous years have witnessed some of the world’s iconic landmarks glow in blue — from New York City’s Empire State Building and Egypt’s Great Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx to Japan’s Tokyo Tower and Australia’s Sydney Opera House; the world’s continents lit up in unison, one after the other.
Sine 2015, Egypt’s Pyramids and the Sphinx light up blue annually in support of WAAD
Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Jordan’s world renown Al-Khazneh in Petra is even more picturesque in blue
The Empire State Building in New York City is among the world’s landmarks that light up annually in support of WAAD
And this year is no different.
China’s Macau Convention and Entertainment Centre will light up blue.
Tonight, all countries come together as one to raise awareness of autism.