Chattanooga To Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day On April 2

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, join staff, faculty, children, adults and families from Autism & Behavior Services, Chattanooga Autism Center, Orange Grove Center, Signal Centers and Siskin Children’s Institute as they gather for a community-wide commemoration at Miller Plaza’s Waterhouse Pavilion at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  Members of the autism community and the general public are invited.

In addition to remarks from the mayor, families will share personal stories describing their own journeys with autism, from those having just been diagnosed, to adults currently living within 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 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 in Light It Up Blue. The Waterhouse Pavilion will remain washed in blue light through the night on April 2 as 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.

From Laura Forkum, executive director, Autism & Behavior Services:  “Families who have children with autism struggle to access the community on a daily basis due to their child's challenging behavior. These families often feel like the general public is not accepting of their child when they are having a tantrum. Raising the awareness of autism in the general public will assist these families to access the community.”  For more information about Autism & Behavior Services, visit

From Dave Buck, director, Chattanooga Autism Center:  “Parents often tell us how they wish people knew about autism. They feel people wouldn't misjudge their child or judge them as parents if they only understood a little.”  For more information about Chattanooga Autism Center, visit

From Kyle Hauth, executive director, Orange Grove Center:  “Individuals in our society who have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum benefit most from a connected and collaborative community which recognizes the worth of every individual regardless of their disability and which strives to bring resources to bear in a person centered manner. We at Orange Grove are pleased to operate in Hamilton County where so many opportunities exist for cooperative ventures between private and public entities.”  For more information about Orange Grove Center, visit

From Donna McConnico, CEO, Signal Centers:  "Even with remarkable advances in education, technology and research we know we should do more. Studies have shown that the majority of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders notice a developmental problem before their child's first birthday, yet only 18% of children are diagnosed before age 3. We should ensure that every child with autism has intervention at the earliest moment possible."  For more information about Signal Centers, visit

From John Farrimond, president & CEO, Siskin Children’s Institute:  “With so much unknown about ASD, it’s important to reiterate what we do know. ASD affects 1 in every 88 children in the U.S. – 1 in every 54 boys. It is a brain-based developmental disability and research indicates that early identification and intervention are key to potentially positive outcomes. Siskin Children’s Institute is honored to partner in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day and to provide important assessment, diagnosis, therapies, and early childhood education for children and their families.”  For more information about Siskin Children's Institute, visit

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