The University of Utah swapped its colors from Crimson to Blue last weekend in support of Autism Awareness.
The U lit the George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge blue from March 31 through April 3. World Autism Awareness Day was April 2.
“I think coming together to show support for this disorder is extremely important as a community,” said Victoria Coleman, a student at the U. “Lighting the bridge blue is a positive way to illustrate a growing awareness of autism on campus.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. There is a range of other symptoms that individuals with autism experience, and the severity of each symptom vary from person to person. Autism can be accompanied by other medical conditions.
The state of Utah will hold events throughout April to show their support for those impacted by autism.
April 21 was named “Autism After 21 Day” by the Utah State Legislature last session. Many adults with autism are expected to care for themselves after the age of 21 when federally mandated assistance has ended. This includes finding housing and a job. Some of these adults have to care for themselves after they turn 22. Many are expected to have finished education, find housing and a job. According to H.C.R. 17, the holiday is intended to “acknowledge the many adults on the autism spectrum who are navigating adulthood and wanting to reach their full potential.”
The U will hold a breakfast on the morning of April 21. There, community leaders will discuss issues faced by adults with autism and how to focus on their talents and strengths.
“We need to be able to accept people and love them for who they are,” Coleman said. “We are all human and all deserve to have the same respect and dignity.”