By Mike McClure

Last year, the annual Light It Up ceremony was forced inside due to the weather. This year, the ceremony will not take place due to the coronavirus, however, area businesses and organizations will still sport blue light to help promote Autism Awareness.

“There will be visual evidence of this month. We just won’t be able to have the ceremony,” said Carlyle Windley, who along with his wife, Marcia, has been involved with the annual event in Seaford for the past nine years. “We hope that hope people will understand why we are not having the event this year.”

“The ceremony that we’ve had for eight years has been very successful in our community,” Marcia Windley added. 

The purpose of Light It Up Blue is to create awareness while fostering inclusiveness and acceptance of people who have Autism. Current statistics show one in 54 kids have Autism.

“This main thrust now is awareness, acceptance, and inclusion and that’s what this is all about,” said Carlyle Windley.

Businesses and storefronts in Seaford and throughout the state will display blue lights or the Light It Up Blue posters this month. Over the years over 40 businesses have supported the effort through lighting and displays.

Area schools have been promoting kindness programs to all of its students. Last year’s Delaware State Teacher of the Year Dana Bowe of the Seaford School District spoke at last year’s lighting ceremony.

“The schools are very active in using current research to help students,” Marcia Windley said.

“What we’re got are a population of people that are genetically diverse,” said Carlyle Windley. “There’s not going to be a therapy that eliminates it.”

But while past research has been aimed at finding the cause of Autism, research is still taking place to help those people affected by it, all while promoting awareness, acceptance, and inclusiveness.

“The research is ongoing. They haven’t given up on that,” Marcia Windley added.