Cape Abilities Celebrates World Autism Awareness Day in Hyannis

HYANNIS – Cape Abilities celebrated World Autism Awareness Day yesterday at Cooke’s Seafood in Hyannis.

The day recognizes the contributions and abilities of people with autism and their needs for services.

Executive Director of Cape Abilities Rosalie Edes said it’s important to continue to spread awareness about Autism because of the wide range of needs across the spectrum.

“People need to really understand who are these people in their communities and really look at their abilities,” Edes said. “[Awareness] has increased considerably over the years and we are hoping to do initiatives like this that help support that effort.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 out of every 68 children in the United States are on the Autism spectrum. Autism is characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.

An 18-foot-tall iron sculpture with hundreds of blue LED lights by local artist Michael Magyar has been placed in front of Cooke’s Seafood on Route 132 to “Light it Up Blue” for Autism Awareness Month.

The sculpture is in the shape of the logo for the “Light it Up Blue” campaign for Autism Awareness Month – a puzzle piece inside of a light bulb.

Cooke’s Seafood co-owner Van Haidas said he was happy to partner with Magyar and Cape Abilities to display to sculpture.

“It’s a great way to draw attention,” Haidas said. “And now that we are right here on Route 132 to have a very visible place to shine that light is something that we wanted to contribute.”

Edes is hoping that people who drive by understand the icon for Autism Awareness Month and start thinking about people they know who have Austism.

“This is wonderful to have the support of the Haidas family and Cooke’s here to do it in such an open area where so many people will come through Hyannis and see this,” Edes said.

Haidas, whose wife is on the board of directors for Cape Abilities, said proceeds from Cooke’s Seafood and The Knack in Orleans are donated to local charities, including Cape Abilities.

Cape Abilities is a non-profit organization which provides services for individuals with disabilities across Cape Cod.

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