Whether the autism prevalence rate is one in 88 U.S. children or one in 50 as a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study indicates, the most important issues on the minds of five Chattanooga organizations are raising awareness of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and how best to support individuals living with ASD and their families in the region.
In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, Chattanooga Mayor-elect Andy Berke, as well as staff, faculty, children, adults and families from Autism & Behavior Services, Chattanooga Autism Center, Orange Grove Center, Signal Centers and Siskin Children’s Institute will gather for a community-wide commemoration at Miller Plaza’s Waterhouse Pavilion at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2. Members of the autism community and the general public are invited.
In addition to remarks from the mayor and mayor-elect, there will be brief comments touching on general autism information and awareness, education, employment, housing and public policy. Highlighting this impactful event will be a short speech from Angela Bouch, a Chattanoogan living with ASD, an interpretive dance performance, and a vocal performance from an individual on the spectrum. At the close of the event, the Waterhouse Pavilion will be illuminated as part of the worldwide Light It Up Blue campaign forged by Autism Speaks.
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) was adopted in 1989 and is a United Nations-sanctioned observance. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part to Light It Up Blue. The Waterhouse Pavilion will remain washed in blue light through the night on April 2 and will be a powerful visual reminder for our community about WAAD.
All attendees are invited to come dressed in blue to draw attention to this important issue of autism awareness.