News Article Details

Light it up blue

The Oskaloosa Herald - 3/23/2018

March 22--OSKALOOSA -- The blue lights will be shining in Oskaloosa on Monday, April 2 to raise awareness for autism.

Tara Welch her personal experiences with autism and what Autism Awareness Day means to her and her family.

"The idea of light it blue ultimately raises one question. Why are there blue lights? Which then can start a conversation regarding autism. I cannot speak for all families, but for mine, Light it up Blue creates a conversation," she said. "As a parent of child with autism, it is important to create awareness and acceptance in the community. Each person who has a diagnosis is different, autism can look like many things. The more people know about autism, the more understanding and acceptance there will be."

Musco Lighting is helping create autism awareness by donating the lighting to light up the square blue for autism. Welch said that Julie Knox had reached out and asked if they would like to participate to create awareness.

"Our partnership with Musco started with another family of autism," she said. "Our children, friends, and families with autism only want to be accepted as they are."

Welch said that her child that has autism is growing up in this community and it's important that the community accepts and understands him.

"The goal is that people with autism in this community can be educated, work and live here. Autism can look like as variety of things. It can be a kid crying at the grocery store, a child wandering away from parents, a picky eater, child who doesn't respond when asked a question," Welch said. "For some the child at the store is upset because of the fluorescent lighting, the sound of the card, being overwhelmed sensory wise. The wandering may be a flight or fight response to a situation they are having trouble processing. The picky eater may have texture issues and the unresponsive one, may not be able to their words to communicate."

She said Autism Awareness Day and Month is very near and dear to her heart because every day is Autism Awareness in her home.

"Blue light bulbs can be purchased at almost any local retailer," Welch said. She also shared statistics to help educate the public and bring awareness.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 68 children had been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Autism spectrum disorder is 4.5 times more common among boys than among girls.

Herald Staff Writer Shelly Ragen can be reached at


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