On the 2nd of April, the world joins hands to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day in an attempt to collectively take measures to raise awareness about the neurological disorder throughout the world. Today, Ummeed Child Development Center is lighting up prominent structures in the city like the Gateway of India, Royal Opera House and the BMC headquarters in Mumbai in blue as one of their activities to raise awareness about autism.
With more and more media outlets talking about autism, and movies showcasing this sensitive subject, it’s not surprising that one-way thing there is enough awareness about this neurological condition. However, people are largely unaware of the symptoms and effects that come with it. Autism spectrum disorder affects a person throughout their entire life, affecting the way a person socializes and goes about with daily activities. However, if diagnosed on time, it can be managed well and a person can lead a healthy life even with the condition. Since awareness remains the cornerstone of managing any condition, April 2 is observed as World Autism Awareness Day across the world.
Children with autism usually struggle with communication and have trouble understanding how they think and feel, making it difficult for them to express themselves, through words, gestures and facial expressions. They also have an aversion to touching. According to estimates, 1 in every 59 children is identified to be on the autism spectrum. Despite such staggering numbers, a vast majority of the world that include parents and professionals do not completely grasp how to deal with this disorder in an effective manner.
Ummed Child Development Centre has been organizing a Light It Up Blue campaign every year to raise awareness about autism and the benefits of early diagnosis. This movement was originally started by Autism Speaks, US. This year, the campaign would see over 18,000 buildings and iconic landmarks across the world light up in blue, and will also encompass social media and outreach activities initiated by the organisation. 18,000 buildings and iconic landmarks across the world light up in blue, and will also encompass social media and outreach activities initiated by the organisation.
Mumbai saw landmarks like charkha statue at Cross Maidan, Jaslok Hospital, Reliance Hospital, Essar House, Jindal House, and the Kala Ghoda Statue lit in blue yesterday. You see the Express Towers, Royal Opera House, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Taj Lands End, The Club in Juhu, TAO Art Gallery and even the Gateway of India in the blue hue today. Ummed is also promoting a social media campaign that will the tag line ‘what am I doing to light up blue’, asking people to work creatively with the colour to post videos on their personal feeds.
They have also planned four to five outreach initiatives for April, which see organisations such as Saifee Hospital, Ascend International School, Tarq Art Gallery, Mumbai Port Trust and Parent Circle partnering with Ummeed to undertake various activities.