Light it up blue, Poland!
In the lead up to World Autism Awareness Month in April, Poland Today shines a (blue) light on a few local initiatives to help increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
April is World Autism Awareness Month and to kick-off proceedings on 2 April, Warsaw’s iconic Palace of Culture and Science will be illuminated in blue as part of the worldwide ‘Light It Up Blue’ initiative. On this day, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Pyramids in Giza and other landmarks around the world glow blue to show unity, openness, acceptance and human kindness to people on the autism spectrum and their families. The blue colour is associated with Autism Speaks, the largest autism advocacy organisation in the United States.
In Poland, the event has been running since 2011, with public institutions, educational facilities, commercial buildings and shopping centres doing their part. Each year, the SYNAPSIS Foundation, which has provided professional assistance to children and adults with autism and their families for 30 years, partners up with the real estate industry in Poland to light up nearly 100 buildings across the country. This includes companies such as Knight Frank, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE Polska, Savills, Colliers International, Polski Holding Nieruchomości, NAI Estate Fellows, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Golub GetHouse, JLL Polska, EPP, and Globalworth Poland Real Estate.
Photos: SYNAPSIS Foundation
SYNAPSIS has organised an art auction on 20 April at the National Museum in Warsaw under the honorary patronage of the wife of the President of the Republic of Poland, Agata Kornhauser-Duda. Proceeds from the sales will support the therapy of children and adults with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Later that week on 24 April, there will also be a conference linking professionals involved in the development of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with parents who are raising children on the spectrum.
Individual signs of solidarity are also encouraged such as wearing the colour blue or sharing the ‘puzzle’ on social media – the international symbol of autism. The community can also financially help the cause by making charitable donations, purchasing items which support foundations such as SYNAPSIS or as per Polish fiscal law, opting to allot 1% of tax to a designated charity.
Autism and Asperger Syndrome are the most common developmental disorders. They cause difficulties in perceiving the world, learning, communicating and social interaction. The UN has recognised autism as one of the world’s most serious health problems alongside cancer, diabetes and AIDS. There is still a significant need for people in Poland with autism in terms of diagnosis, therapy, education and active inclusion in society.
For more information about the SYNAPSIS Foundation and the events in April, visit http://synapsis.org.pl/.