Autism Awareness


Since fifty percent of Julie Billiart Schools’ (JB) students are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we, along with millions of others across the globe, pledge to “Light It Up Blue” this April during World Autism Month.  In recognition of others living with autism. we will be joining the world to celebrate the unique talents of those with this broad range of conditions and bring attention to the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.

Find Out Early

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism at their 18 and 24-month well-child checkup. Early diagnosis is critical to providing children with the support, autism resources and programs they will need to thrive academically, socially and emotionally. Early diagnosis and intervention, means children and their families are sooner guided towards the therapies and programs that will help them reach their full potential.

In 2018, the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder – 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls, meaning boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. 

Autism Speaks LogoASD affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, however, minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often, so it’s important to spread the importance of early autism diagnosis throughout all communities. According to Autism Speaks, the country’s leading autism authority and advocate group,  ASD can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2, though statistics show that most children in 2018 were still being diagnosed after age 4.

Children affected by autism benefit from interventions such as behavior, speech and occupational therapy. These therapies help improve a child’s learning, communication and social skills, as well as underlying brain development.

Get Involved with Autism Awareness Month

April is World Autism Month

Every April, Autism Speaks, along with people, organizations and schools across the globe celebrate World Autism Month beginning on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day. Throughout the month, autism-friendly events, educational activities and fundraisers are organized to increase understanding and acceptance of ASD and foster worldwide support.

Join your community at an autism walk near you. JB teachers and staff also participate and sponsor awareness activities hosted by Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of Greater Akron. Individuals and families are invited to  create their own fundraising event with Autism Speaks' Fundraise Your Way campaign or find additional ways to participate and financially support research, awareness and education.

Autism Speaks - Light It Up Blue Autism AwarenessLight It Up Blue

In 2010, Autism Speaks created the Light It Up Blue initiative for World Autism Awareness Day. For nearly a decade, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world “Light it Up Blue” in recognition of people living with autism. 170 countries from all 7 continents participated in 2017!

In addition to “Light it Up Blue”, Autism Speaks encourages supporters to wear something blue on April 2  to promote understanding and acceptance for people with autism. You can share your Light It Up Blue photos online by downloading the Selfie Sign to show your support for people with autism, then post your photos with the hashtag #LightItUpBlue to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

Julie Billiart Schools’ Celebrate Gala

Julie Billiart Schools’ annual Celebrate Gala and Live Auction will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center, Cleveland.

Join us for an unforgettable evening that celebrates all of our students, including those with ASD and their families. This major fundraising event reminds us all; donors, sponsors, families and friends of our mission to nurture and empower students with special learning needs.

The Celebrate Gala is made possible through generous donations from local businesses and individuals. In return for their contribution, event sponsors receive extended logo and brand exposure through media campaigns, promotional efforts and an audience of event attendees. It’s not too late – Learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

This year’s  gala will be honoring Gary Didado of J.W. Didado Electric and Larry Thompson of Thompson Electric Inc. with our Community Partnership Award. This honor is awarded to a local businesses or organization that has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to JB and our mission. J.W. Didado Electric and Thompson Electric Inc. , typically considered “competitors” in the industry, combined their manpower and resources to prepare our JB Akron school building for the installation of a much needed fire alarm system. 

Also being recognized at this year’s Celebrate Gala, is Sister Sharon Kovalcik, SND, who will be awarded our highest honor, the Spirit of St. Julie Award. As a teacher, mentor, and spiritual guide for our staff and students, Sr. Sharon has served the JB community for more than 25 years. Her dedication and commitment to our mission truly exemplifies the meaning of this award and  represents our namesake’s vision and dedication to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

All proceeds from the Celebrate Gala  go towards offsetting the cost of education and covering remaining tuition costs for JB families. All JB students are impacted by the efforts of the gala each year.

Register for this year’s Celebrate Gala and Live Auction. 


JB Autism Resources

Find additional therapists, recreational opportunities, and other sources of information for parents, family members or anyone looking for special education support on our Special Needs Resources page.

← More Articles
Print This Article
View text-based website