Education

April is Autism Awareness Month: Berkeley Heights Student Lights Town Blue

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Gov. Livingston sophomore Brian Rubenstein is Lighting the Town Blue for Autism Awareness Month. Credits: Bobbie Peer
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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - April is Autism Awareness Month and Gov. Livingston sophomore Brian Rubenstein wants Berkeley Heights to "Light it up Blue" to support Autism Awareness.

Rubenstein received a proclamation from Mayor Bob Woodruff recognizing April 2, 2015 as World Autism Awareness day in the Township of Berkeley Heights. Woodruff urged "all employees and residents to become better educated about autism and create a better community for individuals with autism."

The proclamation recognizes that autism is a pervasive development disorder affecting the social, communication and behavioral skills of those affected by it. More children are being diagnosed on the autism spectrum with a rate as high as one in 68 children nationally and one in 45 in New Jersey. It is documented that if individuals with autism receive early and intensive treatment throughout their lives, they lead significantly improved lives.

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Rubenstein understands that many families deal with the difficult challenges of autism and he wanted to take action to advocate for those families. "We wanted to spread awareness, it's a whole Worldwide Campaign now. -- And a lot of people raise money, so I wanted to raise money also," said Rubenstein.

After receiving the proclamation from Mayor Woodruff, Rubenstein hit the Berkeley Heights streets to "Light it up Blue." Police Chief John DiPasquale is fully supportive of the cause and placed blue light bulbs in Police Headquarters.

Berkeley Hardware and Paint is lighting it blue -- and will stock their shelves with blue light bulbs in the future. Rubenstein found that local businesses were happy to support "Light it up Blue" and post the blue flyers [made by Rubenstein], spreading autism awareness -- including Stop and Shop and many store fronts along Springfield Avenue.

In addition to spreading awareness, Rubenstein is raising funds for Autism Speaks, an organization whose mission is to find the causes, effective treatments and a cure for autism by accelerating the pace of scientific research, while raising awareness about autism and providing education and outreach opportunities.

Donations can be made by visiting www.autismspeaks.org and click on the tab "Get Involved" and scroll to "Fundraise your way" and click the tab "Donate" and search "Brian Rubenstein."

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