Blue lights for World Autism Awareness Day

 ROME -- Saturday April 2 is the World Autism Awareness Day and to draw attention to the problems faced there will be a series of meetings and events, the show of support from the Senate of the Republic comes in the form of lighting of the face of Palazzo Madama with a blue light from Friday at 8.30 p.m.  The blue lights on many palaces and monuments throughout Italy and the world represents the colour of autism, knowledge, and safety.

 The National Institute of Health, the neuropsychiatry ward of the children’s hospital Bambino Gesù, and the Italian Association for Research on Autism ( are expected to discuss the ‘After Us’ movement.  In a notice from Bambino Gesù we learn that from diagnosis to early intervention, and from school to adulthood, families are denouncing lack of professionalism and opportunities in the care of people with autism.  They say also that there is a lack of respect for their right to equal education and professional development opportunities.

 “The specialised resources for diagnosis and treatment in the field are next to nothing, especially in the south [of Italy]. I always suggest that families turn to highly qualified public centres and to be wary of those who offer ‘highly effective’ methods of 'cure', especially at a high price,” explains Stefano Vicari, the representative of the child neuropsychiatric unit at the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.

 On this note, on February 4 the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to support severely disabled people who can no longer cope with just the support of their family.  The proposal is now before the Senate and if it is passed will provide for the establishment of a fund under the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to cover any legislative initiatives that include measures for the protection and assistance of the severely disabled.

 Autism Europe has also chosen for 2016 the slog ‘Respect, Acceptance, Inclusion,’ referring directly to the concern of the Parents’ Association about the still insufficient commitment from the governments of European countries in the care provided for people with autism spectrum disorders.

 Italy were scheduled to light up the palaces and monuments in a blue wash from 8.30 p.m. on Friday April 1 until dawn on April 2, whilst the discussions over what can be done to raise awareness and improve care were scheduled to take place throughout the day on Saturday April 2.