UK to Participate in 'Light It Up Blue' for Autism Awareness
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 29, 2013) — The Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC), an organization in the University of Kentucky College of Education, is sponsoring an event next week to raise awareness about autism. "Light It Up Blue” will take place at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in front of Memorial Hall, which will be illuminated in blue.
"When I learned what Light It Up Blue was, I immediately became interested — I knew that the UK campus and the Lexington community would support autism awareness," said Brandy Denton, co-president of SCEC. "I believe that by participating in Light It Up Blue, our school and community will begin to realize how many people are affected by autism. I am hopeful that people in the Lexington community will better educate themselves on autism."
Light It Up Blue is an international event that UK is joining forces with to kick off Autism Awareness Month. Each April 2, Autism Speaks holds the event in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. To help support this important day, landmarks, universities, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls and many other venues shine blue lights to show their support for this cause.
The Center for Disease Control released a report March 20 indicating that the prevalence in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased to 1 in 50 children (it was previously estimated at 1 in 88).
"No building in Kentucky was reported to have participated in this event last year. We were shocked and decided that we better do something to change that," said Amy Spriggs and Victoria Knight, both assistant professors in the Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation Counseling in the UK College of Education. "The students in SCEC took the idea and ran with it!"
SCEC at UK is a professional development and service organization for students at any level or pursuing any degree program. The purposes of the organization include: being advocates for children with disabilities, advancing the professional development of its members and providing charitable and other services to persons with disabilities. SCEC is a student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, an international organization.
Meanwhile, other fundraisers and activities are planned for the month of April. On April 2, Texas Road House will donate 10 percent of customers' orders to SCEC/Autism Speaks. On April 3, Orange Leaf in Hamburg will donate 20 percent of a customer's order to SCEC/Autism Speaks if Light it up Blue is mentioned.
In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau is hosting three webinars April 4, 8, and 24. Webinar registration is available at http://learning.mchb.hrsa.gov/LiveWebcastDetail.asp?leid=324.
"The Art of Autism" is an art exhibit going on at St. Michaels Episcopal Church at 2025 Bellefonte Dr. in Lexington, from April 14-28. It is for individuals on the autism spectrum disorder continuum to exhibit their artwork.
The College of Education has been very involved in autism research and related programs. Knight and Spriggs have helped create an autism certificate program, delivered through the College of Education. The program consists of five courses to be taken over the span of two summers. These courses are meant to provide a foundation of knowledge about the strengths and needs of those with ASD, as well as a variety of instructional approaches for individuals with ASD.
Lisa Ruble, associate professor in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Pscyhology recently co-authored a book and study about a collaborative training and consulting model for teachers, caregivers and parents of children with ASD. Ruble is also co-director, along with College of Education Professor Jonathan Campbell, of the Center for Autism Spectrum Evaluation, Service, and Research (CASPER) at UK.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, (859) 257-5343; Jenny.Wells@uky.edu