New Jersey 101.5 is going blue on Facebook to show its support for 2013's World Autism Awareness Day and we urge you to join the effort.

Recent autism estimates show that one child in 49 will be diagnosed with autism in New Jersey and boys are overwhelmingly more likely to have autism than girls, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention Report (CDC).

Autism Spectrum Disorders are defined by the CDC as "a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges."  There is no known cause for autism.

Every year on April 2, Autism Speaks leads the charge to "Light It Up Blue" to raise autism awareness.

"This international attention is essential to address stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures," Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon writes in this year's message on Autism Awareness Day.

Want to Get Involved? Here's How

There are lots of ways to get involved in the fight to spread awareness about autism.

This month, Autism Speaks NJ has several events happening in New Jersey that they'd like you to consider supporting:

  1. Bark Now for Autism Speaks: Register today for this fun-filled dog-friendly fundraiser taking place Saturday April 13 at Mercer County Park, West Windsor from 9 a.m. to noon. Pre-registration is $25 per dog.
  2. Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could Benefit Concert:  Proceeds from this family-friendly concert benefit Celebrate the Children, Reed Academy, NJ Autism and Autism Speaks. Children will be able to move about as necessary at this "sensory friendly" show. The show will be held at Newtown Theatre on Sunday April 14 at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $20 per adult and $10 per child.
  3.  Alex and Ani Jewelry Benefit: Alex and Ani will be holding a jewelry benefit April 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at two locations, Princeton and Red Bank where 15 percent of any item purchased in the store will benefit Autism Speaks.
  4. Support in-store fundraising campaigns: From now until April 30, Toys R Us will be collecting monetary donations to benefit Autism Speaks at more than 800 locations nationwide in its "Shine a Light on Autism" campaign. Shop at Dollar General Stores in April to support an at-register campaign this month. TJ Maxx holds an in-store fundraising campaign from April 14 to May 4.

Autism NJ is another organization in NJ working hard to support the fight for autism awareness. Here are some programs and events they'd like you to consider supporting.

  1. Join or Support Autism NJ's Ambassador Program: Autism New Jersey has recruited more than 1,000 NJ residents as ambassadors who will be raising awareness throughout April by conducting activities and events throughout the state.  You can still register to get a kit here.  This year's theme is "Building Acceptance,” where the focus is on helping to build communities that embrace and accept individuals with autism.
  2. Bubbles for Autism Day: At 1:15 p.m. on April 22, join the tens of thousands around the world blowing bubbles to raise awareness for autism. More than 57,200 people participated last year.
  3. Autism Awareness Day with the NY Mets: Join the NY Mets at Citi Field April 27 as they take on the Philadelphia Phillies for their Autism Awareness Day Game.  A portion of each ticket sold through this advance offer will benefit Autism New Jersey. Participating families get early entry via the Bullpen Plaza beginning at 11:10 a.m. and can enjoy pre-game activities. The Left Field Landing seating area will be exclusive for guests with family members with autism.  Tickets start at $24.00 to purchase tickets select "Autism NJ" on the buying options.
  4. Montclair State University PRSSA Fundraiser for Autism New Jersey: Montclair State University is showing support for autism awareness by planning and hosting an event on April 29, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Film and television star Moira Kelly will headline the fundraiser held at Memorial Auditorium.  Tickets are $15.

Children's Specialized Hospital is the largest provider of medical services for children with autism in New Jersey and they'd like you to consider participating in the following event:

  1. Blowing Bubbles for Autism: Children's Specialized Hospital invites you to join them April 22 at 1 p.m. to blow bubbles for an autism awareness event at the locations below. The hospital has been doing this event for two years and it was originally coordinated by FACES 4 Autism to break the world record for number of people blowing bubbles at one time for one minute.
    Mountainside – 150 New Providence Road, Mountainside
    Fanwood- 330 South Avenue, Fanwood
    Hamilton- 3575 Quakerbridge Road, Hamilton
    Toms River – 94 Stevens Road or Lakehurst Road
    Clifton – 1135 Broad Street, Clifton
    Bayonne – 815 Broadway, Bayonne
    Egg Harbor Township - 6106 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township
    New Brunswick – 200 Somerset Street, New Brunswick

Who Else Supports Autism Awareness in NJ?

To encourage greater awareness of the programs and opportunities that support individuals on the autism spectrum, Governor Chris Christie has declared April as Autism Awareness Month in the Garden State.

First Lady Mary Pat Christie has announced that the governor’s official residence will be illuminated in blue today to recognize World Autism Day.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be lighting up the JFK Tower and the George Washington Bridge blue in a show of support for the entire month of April. More than 49 million vehicles cross the George Washington Bridge yearly.

Children's Specialized Hospital, the state's largest provider of autism services, is participating in the "Light it Up Blue" campaign by changing the outside lights of its location in Mountainside NJ.

One Manahawkin neighborhood has swapped outdoor lights with blue bulbs to support a family who's fighting to raise awareness for autism. Full story here.