Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, in support of Autism Speaks’ global Light It Up Blue campaign, will participate by illuminating both the Monster Monument and hotel façade in blue throughout the month of April.
Photo by R. Burr
With both companies participating in this event, two of the most recognizable landmarks in Delaware will be lit up blue throughout the month of April. The Monster Monument in Victory Plaza is the largest sports monument in the country, a 46-foot tall fiberglass structure of the track’s famous icon, Miles the Monster. On the opposite side of the property, the 500-room Dover Downs Hotel and Casino’s beautiful façade will display the blue lights.
Light It Up Blue kicks off each April 2, which is also the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day, and is a unique global initiative that starts Autism Awareness Month. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part in Light It Up Blue.The relationship between the Speedway and Autism Speaks dates back eight years, with the two organizations partnering on the track’s spring race weekend to help raise funds and awareness for the cause. For the fourth straight year, the Monster Mile, Autism Speaks and FedEx will join forces for the June 1, 2014 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated annually on April 2, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities increase and develop world knowledge of the autism crisis and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention.
Photo by R. Burr
Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe. Autism is one of only three health issues to be recognized by the United Nations with its own day.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified and Asperger syndrome.
For more information about Light It Up Blue, visit liub.autismspeaks.org.