SPANISH hospital light up in blue for World Autism Awareness Day
World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated across the globe on April 2 every year since 2008, and this year the University of Granada, through its Vice-Rectorate for Equality, Inclusion and Sustainability is making an extra special effort by lighting up the Royal Hospital in bright blue to commemorate the event. The lights are meant to be symbolic of the “big blue family” of the Autism Spectrum Disorder in the region, and the day as a whole is in honour of the various associations, families and professionals that support individuals with Autism.
The internal campaign Light It Up Blue (LIUB) is promoted by Autism Speaks and aims to describe the range of emotions experienced by people on the Autism Spectrum as well as their families. As explained by the Mírame Association for Support to Family and People with ASD of Granada, the blue colour has the peculiarity of being “bright like the sea on a summer day and other times it darkens like a stormy sea.”
Interestingly, in 2014 World Autism Awareness Day coincided with what was called Onesie Wednesday, a day created by the National Autistic Society that encouraged people in the UK to support those on the spectrum by going out in their pyjamas as a way of saying that it’s ok to be different.
The overall aim is to create awareness around the difference the right conditions can make to job and employment prospects for people on the spectrum under Autism Spain’s slogan: ‘I can LEARN. I can Work.’ The province of Granada is keen to highlight the fact that people with Autism can function as valuable members of any society once given the appropriate tools and supports, and that being different does not necessarily have to lead to inequality.
An estimated 7 million people have autism spectrum disorder in Europe, and an estimated 470,000 individuals in Spain are on the spectrum.