Each year on April 2, Autism Speaks celebrates Light It Up Blue along with the international autism community, in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. Light It Up Blue is a unique global initiative that kicks-off Autism Awareness Month and helps raise awareness about autism.

Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil participates in Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue Campaign on April 2, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images for Autism Speaks)

In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part to Light It Up Blue.

My son has Autism and my family has celebrated Light It Up Blue since 2011, illuminating our front porch with a blue light bulb to help raise Autism awareness.

Did you know ...

•Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys

•Autism prevalence figures are growing

•Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.

•Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average

•Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding than many less prevalent childhood diseases

•Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism

•There is no medical detection or cure for autism

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It's easy and fun to Light It Up Blue, here are some ways you can be a part of this year's event:

LIGHT YOUR HOUSE BLUE
Purchase special Autism Speaks blue light bulbs from your local Home Depot. Blue LED lanterns can be purchased at Coleman.com, and blue CFL bulbs from TCPI will be in most local Wal-Mart stores.

WEAR BLUE TO WORK DAY
Wear blue clothing and ask your co-workers to wear blue too. Consider asking your colleagues to donate $5 to Autism Speaks.

LIGHT IT UP BLUE ONLINE
Help us raise awareness about autism by spreading the word via email, Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blog or website using these online tools.

Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, announced the launch of the inaugural Light It Up Blue campaign in 2010. This initiative is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month in the United States.