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Wednesday is World Autism Awareness Day

Bermuda Autism Support & Education (BASE) is preparing to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day next week with a musical performance at City Hall.

And local companies are urged to join in on the international Light It Up Blue autism awareness campaign in April, intended to shine a light on the health issue.

The events begin on Wednesday, April 2, with acting Education Minister Trevor Moniz reading an official UN declaration to mark the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day.

He will be joined by the Prospect Primary Superhero Autism Class and local singer Joy T Barnum will perform, who is set to perform at the event.

The day also marks the launch of Autism Awareness Month in Bermuda. To note the event, famous buildings around the world including he Empire State Building, Sydney Opera House and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, will be lit up in blue at night.

Locally, grocery store C-Mart will be taking part, and other companies are invited to join in to help raise awareness and promote early diagnosis.

And BASE will be hosting a workshop at Bermuda College on April 26 to mark Autism Awareness Month.

The workshop, titled ‘Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (Pervasive Developmental Disorder): The Pathway Towards Intervention' will be led by visiting psychologist Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Knight, who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities.

According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, around one in 88 US children are on the autism spectrum — ten times more than 40 years ago.

Jenny Purvey, president of BASE, said that heightened awareness has led to an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism in Bermuda but the true figures are unknown, as many children are thought to remain undiagnosed.

“We have, as a community, made great strides in increasing autism awareness in Bermuda,” she said. “With support from Government, children with autism have been accommodated in mainstream education since September 2011 when West Pembroke Primary opened their classroom.

“Similar classrooms were established at Prospect Primary School in September 2012 and Paget Primary School in September 2013.

For more information about events, or to purchase tickets to the workshop, visit www.bermudaautism.com.

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Published March 27, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 27, 2014 at 12:33 am)

Wednesday is World Autism Awareness Day

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