COLUMBIA, MO (April 12, 2017) – As the University of Missouri community returned to town at the end of spring break, more than 100 guests visited Faurot Field to celebrate World Autism Day with the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders and community partners for Light It Up Blue.
“We encourage families and businesses to participate in Light It Up Blue to show support for individuals with autism to raise awareness and acceptance of autism,” said Dr. Stephen Kanne, executive director of the Thompson Center.
Light It Up Blue, a public awareness campaign begun in 2005 by national autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks, encourages individuals, groups and businesses to light their homes and buildings with blue lightbulbs on April 2 each year to commemorate World Autism Day. Many participants continue the practice throughout April, which is World Autism Month.
Columbia organizations that serve individuals with autism partnered with the Thompson Center to bring fun activities, games and prizes for attendees. Boone County Family Resources, Alternative Community Training, Services for Independent Living, Moberly Area Community College, Columbia Public Schools, MU’s School of Health Professions and Woodhaven were joined by MU Children’s Hospital mascot TJ to share the afternoon with families touched by autism in the Columbia area.
Tables set up around the north concourse offered bubble-blowing stations, carnival-style games and craft stations, provided by each of the community partner organizations.
In addition, attendees were also entered into door prize contests.
Two of Kristy Jackson’s children won prize baskets, including her son, Kameryn, whose birthday is April 2.
“He had a blast,” Jackson said. “It felt like a huge birthday party for him.”