Autism Awareness Day 2013: 1 in 88 American Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

First Posted: Apr 02, 2013 09:25 AM EDT

Autism awareness starts off the month of April by launching Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, which hopes to do more than just launch its fourth-annual Light It Up Blue (LIUB) campaign, a global initiative to raise funds and increase awareness.

To date, more than 7,000 iconic structures and landmarks in 90 countries will be shining a bright blue spotlight on autism, including such landmarks as the Empire State Building and George Washington Bridge in New York City, Niagara Falls in Canada and Burji Al Arabi in Dubia, according to Yahoo News.

"In 2010 I turned my porch light blue for the first time," said Jennifer Bunt-Chronister, whose daughter was diagnosed with autism at age four. "Two years later more than 300 consecutive homes in what we now call our 'Blue-evard' will shine bright blue. Light It Up Blue has given me a great platform to raise awareness for autism in my community and I hope others will be inspired to do the same this April."

Autism is a one of the fastest-growing, most serious developmental disabilities in the United States, that currently has no cure, and new estimates regarding the number of children diagnosed with the disease show frighteninling higher numbers of children are being diagnosed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1 in 50 school-age children have autism spectrum disorder and 1 in 88 American children, according to a recent survey.

"This number does not replace the official 1 in 88 estimate, but does suggest that we may be significantly underestimating autism prevalence in the U.S.," said Autism Speaks Associate Director of Public Health Research Michael Rosanoff, M.P.H. "One in fifty, or two percent, is much closer to what we've seen from research that involves directly screening children in the community."

As numerous figures are celebrated throughout the day and the month, autism is recognized as a public health crisis in the country that demands a commensurate response. 

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