To the Editor:
You may have noticed the blue lights shining on the flagpole in front of Mountain Ridge High School. For those who did not know, April is Autism Awareness Month.
The blue lights symbolize shining a light on autism spectrum disorders as part of the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue initiative.
I would like to thank Mike Wade, Bob Coburn and other volunteers from The American Legion in Frostburg for hanging our blue lights and maintaining them throughout the month.
I would also like to recognize Re Mark It on Broadway Street in Frostburg for participating in Light It Up Blue by using a blue display in their front window and participating in the puzzle piece campaign for the month of April, which is raising additional funds.
Here are some facts about autism: Every 11 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism. It affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys and is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.
On average, autism costs a family more than $50,000 annually. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome combined. Autism Speaks is an organization dedicated to funding research, increasing awareness and advocating for those affected by autism. (Autism Speaks fact sheet-2013.)
If you have an autistic child, even something as simple as eating, sleeping or just getting a hair cut can be problematic and cause great anxiety for the child. The Autism Speaks website has a wealth of resources and tool kits available.
If you are not directly affected by autism, chances are you know someone who is. If you would like to help those affected by autism or just want additional information, please visit www.autismspeaks.org or contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again to all who participated this month with shining a light on autism awareness!
Dianna Lacey Speir
Allegany County Autism Speaks
Community outreach ambassador