World Autism Awareness Day - Don’t “Light It Up Blue”

World Autism Awareness Day - Don’t “Light It Up Blue”

Instead of promoting “Light It Up Blue”, we should promote the awareness and acceptance of autistic individuals in our society instead of isolating them.

April 2nd is noted as World Autism Awareness Day or W.A.A.D where people around the world recognize and encourage others to raise awareness for people with autism throughout the world. This resolution was passed in November of 2007, as an initiative to improve human rights. Since its start, the awareness and research has increased across the globe. World Autism Day is one of only four, health-specific United Nation Days that recognizes Autism in hopes of the world uniting to aid in research, diagnosis and treatment for those affected by the disorder.

“Light It Up Blue” is one of the many proposed initiatives proposed by Autism Speaks, observed on W.A.A.D. dedicated to Autism Awareness. However, there is controversy because the slogan “Light It Up Blue” is from the Autism Speaks foundation; instead of promoting people with the disorder, they promote “ending autism,” yet only a small portion of their large budget goes towards helping autistic people and their families. Their budget primarily goes towards researching for a “cure” and prenatal test for pregnant women. Aside from this, the rest of their money goes towards marketing, which paints autism as something bad. So instead of providing support, they are isolating the Autistic community.

The Light It Up Blue campaign ropes in a lot of media support from ignorant people who do not understand the complexity of autism. Social media is playing a huge role in increasing the stigma around ‘finding the cure’ for autism, instead of supporting their local families and autism organizations. Many people are left unaware that their posts on Facebook will not help anyone; they need to do something.

Like many other issues in this day and age, the Light it up Blue campaign is based on stereotypes. For example, the reason we light everything blue, is based on the gender stereotype that boys like blue, because Autism is more likely in males than females. The diagnosis Autism as well, is based on the typical behaviors of a male child, rather than the behavior of a child of either gender. This often leads to the misdiagnosis of Autistic females, because it is a “boys disorder.”

Ultimately, the W.A.A.D. does not promote the awareness of Autism all year long, rather only promoting awareness for one day. Like many issues, it doesn’t go away the following day when April 2nd ends. Instead of promoting “Light It Up Blue,” we should promote the awareness and acceptance of autistic individuals in our society instead of isolating them. The day of awareness is helpful to the cause, but lighting it up blue does not change things; to change things we need to make a difference. If you really want to help those apart of the Autistic community, you should join the fight for acceptance and opportunities for those affected. You can do more than “Light It Up Blue,” and join the fight for equality for the men and women suffering from Autism.

Cover Image Credit: The Autism News

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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I Stopped Taking My ADHD Medication And It Made Me 10 Times Happier

Many people with ADHD choose to medicate to manage their symptoms, but that choice is not without any negative side effects.


When I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

I was in the third grade and falling behind in nearly every subject and my teachers were losing hope. I endured several weeks of testing before being diagnosed, but even more weeks of medication testing after I was diagnosed. Once it had been determined that I responded positively to medication, I began taking Concerta.

I took Concerta every day from fourth grade on to my freshman year of college.

About every three years, I would start taking a stronger dosage and every time my dosage increased, I experienced more and more negative side effects of the drug.

Common side effects people experience when they take ADHD medications are altered personalities. The meds make you feel more reserved and uncomfortable. You are constantly on alert and this makes one feel very self-conscious. Another side effect of ADHD meds is suppression of identifying personality traits and strong emotions. Many people, including myself, report feeling robot or zombie-like. All of these side effects disappeared when I stopped taking Concerta.

Around the beginning of my first year of college, I considered stopping medicating.

College is a fresh start and I was beginning to wonder what not medicating would feel like. I had become so used to the way Concerta made me feel, I did not know what it felt like to truly be myself. So, after being medicated from 2008-2017, I stopped taking my ADHD pills.

At first, I didn't feel much of a difference, but as time went on I began feeling happier. I found myself to be more outgoing and social. I have always been considered a warm, approachable person, but this was different. People began commenting on how often I was smiling, my friend group was expanding, I began feeling more confident in myself and speaking in public.

During the fall semester of my sophomore year, I began experiencing the symptoms of my ADHD on a whole new level. I was having extreme difficulty paying attention in class, trouble completing all my assignments in a timely fashion, forgetting simple things, and more.

I felt like my grades were suffering and I was worried not medicating was compromising the quality of my education because I no longer had pills to help me manage my symptoms, so I started medicating once again.

At the start of my sophomore winter semester, I began taking Concerta again in hopes my educational experience would improve. While school was easier to manage, I could not stand the way the meds were making me feel. I experienced intense migraines, loss of interest in any/all activities I once enjoyed, I stopped eating, and my friends often commented on how dull I seemed. Due to all the negative side-effects of starting my medication again, I got rid of them for good.

Over a year has gone by since I first made the choice to give up my medication.

School is a lot harder and paying attention takes significantly more energy, but I would not trade any of my ADHD struggles for the feeling of finally being free from the methylphenidate based drug used to treat my disorder. For the first time since third grade, I feel like myself and I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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