Miller Children’s Goes Blue for Autism Awareness Month

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More than 60 Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach employees, community supporters, patients with autism and their families formed a giant human light bulb, the universal symbol for Autism, to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day in 2015.

More than 60 Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach employees, community supporters, patients with autism and their families formed a giant human light bulb, the universal symbol for Autism, to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day in 2015.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 American children are identified with an autism spectrum disorder – with 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls being affected. To raise awareness of this growing disorder, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach is participating in the international “Light It Up Blue” initiative throughout April – Autism Awareness Month.

“The numbers indicate that autism is becoming more prevalent,” says Gary Feldman, M.D., medical director, Stramski Children’s Developmental Center, Miller Children’s. “With more than 3.5 million people living with autism in the U.S., it’s imperative that people understand this disorder. We want the community to join us in our mission to spread autism awareness and create a truly supportive community in Long Beach for families affected by autism.” 

There are no recognized blood or medical tests that can diagnose autism. Instead, specially trained physicians and psychologists administer autism-specific behavioral evaluations.

A specialty trained team at the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center at Miller Children’s cares for children – from birth to age 21 – with behavioral and developmental conditions, including autism. The Stramski Center has the only program in Southern California dedicated to treating patients and families affected by Fragile X Syndrome – the most common known single gene cause of autism.

Miller Children’s will be one of only a select few organizations in Southern California that will be lighting up their buildings blue in April, joining 7,000 landmarks and buildings in 90 countries, such as the Empire State Building in New York and the Great Buddha of Hyogo in Japan.

To kick off Autism Awareness Month, a “Light It Up Blue” event will take place on Friday, April 1, at noon in front of the Miller Children’s Pavilion. Dr. Feldman will speak on the impact of autism and share the strides in care being made at the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center for patients and families with autism. Attendees are encouraged to wear blue in an effort to create a giant visual autism statistic to raise awareness. Using balloons, attendees will form a giant 1 in 68 statistic.

Community members also can show their support by visiting MillerChildrens.org/GoBlue and downloading a “Light It Up Blue” pledge. After downloading it, they can write an inspiring message of support and sign their name on the pledge. Then share a photo of the pledge on their social media pages using the hashtag #LIUB and tag Miller Children’s on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For more information on the “Light It Up Blue” event and initiative at Miller Children’s or to learn more about autism, visit MillerChildrens.org/GoBlue.

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