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On December 18, 2007, the United Nations adopted a resolution that designated April 2 each year as World Autism Awareness Day.

Read more about the UN's 2020 focus on transition to adulthood. 


Light it Up Blue

On April 2nd  Light It Up Blue to raise awareness about autism.  Light It Up Blue is an international event, with many famous landmarks lit to raise autism awareness.   

Click Here for more information about Light It Up Blue. You can find information about autism in numerous languages. The website also contains materials you can use to promote awareness in your community.


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1 in 54 Children

Boys 4 times more likely than girls 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the prevalence of ASD among children aged 8 years was 1 in 54 in the U.S. (Baio et al., 2018).  The CDC continues to work to find out how many children have ASD, discover the risk factors, and raise awareness of the signs (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html)

Currently, we do not know how many Oklahomans have ASD.  Our best guess is based on information the Oklahoma State Department of Education gathers about children receiving special education services through their annual child count.  Through the annual child count, children are identified in one of 13 categories, including Autism.  In 2017, 6,647 (5.9% of all children receiving special education) children aged 3-21 years were identified under the autism category.  This number does not include children with ASD who are served under another category, children with ASD who are not receiving special education services through the local public school, or those under age 3 or over age 21.


Children served under Autism Category in Oklahoma
Child Count by Age Group
  98-99 13-14 14-15 15-16 16-17 17-18 Percent Change
Age 3-5  220 263 333 360 405 4,400
Age 6-11  305 1,899 1,997 2,194 2,328 2,536 731
Age 12-17  135 2,067 2,417 2,761 3,006 3,391 2,412
Age 18-21  14 203 208 247 298 315 2,150
TOTAL (Age 3-21) 454 4,389 4,885 5,535 5,992 6,647 1,364

 * not reported


One of the best ways to better understand autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is to learn directly from autistic individuals.  Below we share the perspective of several autistic individuals about moving beyond awareness, and living with autism.  

Autism Level Up

Autism Level Up is a partnership between Dr. Amy Laurent, psychologist, researcher, and ed. consultant and Dr. Jacquelyn Fede, an autistic researcher and program evaluator.  They challenge us all to move beyond awareness to acceptance, appreciation, empowerment, and advocacy.  Read Dr. Laurent and Dr. Fede's recent article about how we can all Level Up!  

You can also find Autism Level Up on facebook.

Alex Manners

Alex Manners is a young adult with Asperger's who lives in the UK.  He has created a very positive video blog about living with Asperger's during the COVID-19 lockdown.  His daily blog includes some ideas for managing day to day life under our current world circumstances.  

Dr. Temple Grandin

One of the most famous autistic individuals is Dr. Temple Grandin.  Over the years Dr. Grandin has written many books on what it is like to have autism, and on what works best for autistic individuals.   You can find her books online.  You can also watch the movie "Temple Grandin" to gain insight into what it is like to have autism.  Another great way to fill some time while we are all home this month!


In 2002, the Individuals with Autism and Their Families, Oklahoma Plan outlined a plan for moving the state forward in research, services, and supports for people with autism and their family.  The Oklahoma Family and Interagency Autism Council continue to oversee implementation and updates to the plan.   Awareness and knowledge of autism and availability of services, supports, and community based programs has increased since that time.  Progress has been made, but we still have much work to do to better support the growing number of individuals with autism and their families in Oklahoma.

April is a great time to come together to make forward progress related to supporting individuals with autism and their families in our state.  You can participate in a variety of ways in your local community.   If you are a person with autism or a family member of someone with autism, share your story with friends when you speak with them or on social media.   If you are an extended family member or professional, share what you know about autism with your friends, family, place of employment, or other community organizations.  Increasing awareness is the first step, then we move forward from there to acceptance, appreciation, empowerment, and advocacy (see Autism Level Ups article above) with the ultimate goal of creating more opportunities for individuals with autism and their families in Oklahoma.  




Visit with Your Legislators - Autism Awareness at the State Capitol

Another way to raise awareness is to contact your legislators and in a positive way share your story.  Legislators appreciate hearing from their constituents and learning more about how autism has touched your family.  Take a few minutes to call, email or visit your legislators.   Share your child and family story, along with needs related to your child's education or care.



Autism Awareness Day at the State Capitol has been cancelled.

Unfortunately Autism Awareness Day, originally scheduled for April 2, 2020, has been cancelled due to restrictions on social gatherings as a result of COVID-19.  We look forward to seeing you in April 2021.  




Autism Awareness Tag




Order an Oklahoma Autism Awareness License Plate

To order yours, visit the 

Oklahoma Tax Commission

If you have an activity you would like to add, email us at okautism@ouhsc.edu