During the month of April, the trees outside the Judson Center in Royal Oak light up blue as part of its #Autism2Light campaign.

During the month of April, the trees outside the Judson Center in Royal Oak light up blue as part of its #Autism2Light campaign.

Photo provided by Barbara Fornasiero

Going blue for autism awareness

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published April 16, 2019


ROYAL OAK — In case you were wondering about those blue lights twinkling on neighbors’ porches or at local businesses, the answer is simple.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and the signature color is blue. Besides decking its trees in blue lights, the Royal Oak-based Judson Center also pushes to keep the community informed about autism spectrum disorder.

All are welcome to participate in the Bring Autism to Light campaign. Free blue LED lightbulbs can be picked up at the Judson Center or at any of Royal Oak’s three fire stations.

The Judson Center is a nonprofit that provides programs and services for individuals and families affected by autism. ASD is a neurobiological disorder that impacts the development of social skills, communication skills, sensory regulation and behaviors.

One in 59 children are diagnosed with ASD, and more than 50,000 individuals in Michigan are living with ASD, according to a Judson Center press release.

“Over the past three years, the city of Royal Oak and Judson Center have joined together to bring Autism to Light in our community,” Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier said in a prepared statement. “The Bring Autism to Light campaign is vital in educating our community on the services and programs put in place for families and children with autism.”

Since 2005, the Judson Center’s Autism Connections program has provided comprehensive services to families affected by autism.

The program addresses the individual needs of those with a diagnosis of autism and their families from age 2 through adulthood in the form of applied behavior analysis services for individuals and counseling, training and workshops for family members.

“The need for autism services and support continues to increase annually, and we are responding as quickly and comprehensively as we can. Yet we also need a dialogue and acceptance for people impacted by autism,” Judson Center President and CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster said in a statement. “Communitywide efforts present the opportunity to make a personal connection with autism.”

The Judson Center offers services in Royal Oak, Ann Arbor and Warren. Construction is currently underway at the Warren location to add an additional 4,000 square feet of space dedicated solely to autism services. It is slated to be complete by the end of April.

The Judson Center is located at 4410 W. 13 Mile Road, east of Greenfield Road.

For more information, call (248) 549-4339 or visit www.judsoncenter.org.