Westlake glows blue for autism awareness

Megan Hickey, BAEYC President, Sara White, BSEA President, Lyndsay Hawk, BSEA Public Relations Chair, Sam Kintop, BSEA and BAEYC Community Outreach Coordinator and Maria Bates, BAEYC Vice-President (Photo by Duane Zehr)

April 16, 2014

Bradley’s Westlake Hall glowed blue April 2 to celebrate Word Autism Day as part of the worldwide “Light It Up Blue” campaign to kick off National Autism Awareness Month. The fundraiser, organized by Bradley Student Education Association and Bradley Association for the Education of Young Children, raised $800 for autism research.

As part of the worldwide “Light It Up Blue” effort, thousands of iconic landmarks, universities, museums, sporting venues and other buildings radiated blue light to bring awareness to autism on World Autism Awareness Day.

Sam Kintop ‘14, an early childhood and elementary education major, coordinated the event as an executive board member of both BSEA and BAEYC.

An event such as  “Light It Up Blue” is key to autism awareness because students from across the Department of Teacher Education joined together to become actively involved in reaching out. The blue lights set the stage for a special night as students, parents, alumni and Peoria residents gathered. Those that have loved ones with ASD and students who have ASD joined came together as members of the Bradley family.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, one in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is nearly five times more prevalent in boys (one in 42) than girls (one in189). Events such as “Light It Up Blue” are critical in bringing awareness, education and funding for autism.