Yellowknife, NWT – People are encouraged to wear blue on Wednesday for World Autism Awareness Day, part of a month-long campaign to bring awareness to the lifelong disorder.

Effecting one in 68 people, and four times more likely in males, N-W-T Autism Society president Denise McKee says the neurological disorder has become a health crisis that needs to be identified.

She says the first step is to bring attention to autism.

“As the parent of a son with severe autism, the first thing we need to do is to make sure that the community is aware of what autism is. Parents struggle because often times it’s not about us educating ourselves or the individual themselves’, it’s about the community becoming more aware.”

McKee highlights some of the initiatives going on around the territory Wednesday.

“[Health] Minister Abernethy sent out an email to his colleagues asking them to wear blue in support of autism awareness. In Inuvik, they’re having information awareness campaigns at the hospital where they’ll show a short video.”

McKee acknowledges there are differences with people diagnosed with the disorder, but most are able to live productive and inclusive lives in their communities.

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