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Alpha Xi lights up Monmouth for Autism Awareness

April 3, 2012

MONMOUTH— Monmouth College students are very active in projects to both educate and benefit the community, and Alpha Xi Delta, a women’s fraternity on campus, is no exception.  On Monday, April 2, these ladies took the initiative to raise awareness about autism on campus.

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of complex developmental disorders.  Autism is characterized by the unique behavioral and social difficulties that an individual experiences.  Individuals with autism tend to experience difficulties communicating with others, and they can also engage in repetitive behaviors.

There’s no medical cure for autism.  Because of the large range of symptoms that individuals with autism experience, treatment usually includes an individualized plan to help develop communication skills and deal with other symptoms that individuals experience.

Why is it so important that the world be aware of autism?   The importance lies in the numbers.  1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism, and boys are four times as likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.  These numbers indicate that autism affects our community more than we probably realize.  Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the U.S., and it’s probable that many people will be affected by autism at some point in their lives.

Alpha Xi Delta works very hard to raise awareness for autism and is active in raising funds for Autism Speaks.  Alpha Xi Delta does this through programs, such as Xi Man, a male beauty pageant, and through Light It Up Blue.  Light It Up Blue is a global initiative created by Autism Speaks to raise awareness for this cause.  This event occurs each year on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2.  Landmarks across the world have a blue light cast upon them to show support for autism awareness.

Alpha Xi Delta brought this to Monmouth College’s campus by lighting the cupola atop Wallace Hall blue, in addition to the Alpha Xi Delta house.  The organization also distributed blue light blubs to the other Greek organizations on campus in an effort to get others involved in this global initiative.

Lindsay Banks, the philanthropy chair of Alpha Xi Delta, speaks to the importance of this event.  “Light It Up Blue is an opportunity for the campus and the community to unite for a common cause.  This is an opportunity for Monmouth to call attention to a growing problem that affects so many in this community.”

Alpha Xi Delta will be very involved with raising awareness for autism throughout the entire month of April.  On Friday, April 13, they will be hosting an event called Students Write for Autism at 7 PM in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium.  Monmouth College students will have the opportunity to present original works, such as short plays, for a good cause.  Admittance cost is $1.00, and students will be submitting original artwork for sale.  All proceeds will go to Autism Speaks.

This is a great chance for the community to act as one and raise awareness for a cause that affects so many.  So, break out your blue ribbons and help educate others during this month of autism awareness.

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