“Light It Up Blue” is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern of autism. Iconic landmarks around the world were physically bathed in blue light earlier this month to raise awareness. Participating landmarks included: Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan, Edmonton City Hall in Canada, Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Bangladesh Prime Minister’s House, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and many others.

With April being Autism Awareness Month, corporations such as Microsoft, Twitter, Barnes & Noble, and others are helping to celebrate the global “Light It Up Blue” awareness campaign. A series of digital, mobile, and technological applications were created to help people with autism, their families, and to raise general awareness.

Autism Speaks is the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism. An Autism Speaks text-messaging service will support the online “Light It Up Blue” campaign. Users can text “LIUB” to 30644 to get access to additional content, information, and news. Autism Speaks has launched a video blog that features music by Kyle Cousins, a musician on the autism spectrum.

Microsoft released a series of free office templates based on the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit for families of individuals with autism. These templates can be found on the Autism Speaks partner page at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/PN102834214.aspx. These templates include a contact list for medical and service professionals, medication information and history, a child progress tracker, among others.

Twitter donated an online advertising campaign to raise awareness and encourage the world to Tweet about “Light It Up Blue” via the hashtag #LIUB.

Barnes & Noble created a special landing page at www.bn.com/autism in celebration of Autism awareness month and the “Light It Up Blue” campaign. Visitors to the page can see recommendations from Autism Speaks, Nook apps for autism, and other autism resources.

CareZone helps families dealing with autism. On their website www.carezone.com members are provided a safe place to get organized, store important information and coordinate with family members and other helpers. CareZone and Autism Speaks are working together to help families with managing an autism diagnosis. As part of the partnership, CareZone is donating accounts to Autism Speaks, free of charge ($180 value) for a limited time. Once an account is created online, access can be gained on any device.

HandHold Adaptive, a family-run business founded by parents of a boy with autism, has created portable tools that help manage life with special needs. They make the premier apps iPrompts and AutismTrack for mobile devices. On April 2nd, for World Autism Awareness Day, they offered their AutismTrack app for free. AutismTrack is a powerful, portable data tracking tool for parents of kids with autism. It allows users to easily track any behavior, therapy, medication, diet or supplement and report progress to their doctors. For more information visit their website at http://www.handholdadaptive.com/.

The Social Express is a revolutionary social learning software for children and young adults with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, nonverbal learning disabilies, and other social-cognitive challenges. The software helps children to think about and manage social situations through video modeling, enabling them to build social-emotional skills and develop the meaningful relationships they need throughout their life. The Social Express offered a 75% discount for their software on April 2nd. Their website is www.socialexpress.com.

Lamar Digital Advertising donated all available digital billboard space to Autism Speaks for three months to help increase participation in “Light It Up Blue” and the Autism Awareness Month campaign. Digital billboards supporting Autism Speaks initiatives began running nationwide in mid-March and will continue through May 31st.