Mackinac Bridge going blue for autism awareness

Michigan families affected by autism will have much greater access to needed health care under legislation approved today by the Michigan House that requires health care companies to cover treatment for autism spectrum disorders, State Rep. Frank Foster announced in a press release to the media today.

Foster says legislative action on Senate Bills 414-415 and 981 couldn’t come at a better time. The 107th District lawmaker noted that the legislation coincides with Global Autism Awareness Day on Monday, April 2. Part of the campaign will be that the Mackinac Bridge glow blue to kick off the a month-long autism awareness campaign.

“This effort has taken a lot of meetings and phone calls to coordinate but it’s an important issue that deserves statewide attention and consideration,” said Foster, who as a board member of the Sault Ste. Marie autism support group Corner Pieces that is helping sponsor the event. “Ensuring autism health care coverage for Michigan children and families is so important because early intervention can lead to healthier, more fulfilling lives.”

Between 2001 and 2006, the number of children in Michigan public schools diagnosed with autism-related disorders increased by more than 100 percent, according to the Autism Society of Michigan. The number puts the state at the fourth highest autistic population in the United States.

Corner Pieces is joining with Autism Alliance of Michigan and Autism Speaks to launch the largest autism awareness campaign in the state’s history, the Light It Blue Michigan project, which will light not only the Mackinac Bridge, but also the GM Renaissance Center and Madonna University and other landmarks.

Joining Foster and Corner Pieces at the Mackinac Bridge campaign kick-off will be Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, whose young daughter suffers from autism, as the main speaker.

To learn more about the Light It Blue campaign and how to support the work of Corner Pieces, visit

The bills now go back to the Senate for consideration.