Logoff for 24 hours for a good cause

Could you go without Facebook or Twitter for one day in the name of Autism awareness?

That's the idea behind the Communication Shutdown project, currently underway in 50 countries around the globe including Australia, the US and the UK.

Communication Shutdown was created by Australian-based Autism charity The AEIOU Foundation and has attracted support from celebrities including Steven Segal, Buzz Aldrin, Miranda Kerr and Deepak Chopra.

Getting involved is simple - head to the project's website, donate $5 or more to receive a charity app, or CHAPP. The CHAPP connects to Facebook and Twitter accounts, changing the users' profile picture to indicate they're taking part in the shutdown. From there, it's as simple as keeping those tweets and status updates to yourself for 24 hours. Those who can't restrain themselves for that long can still donate via the project's website.

Author and autism advocate Dr Temple Grandin, who was recently portrayed by Claire Danes in a semi-biographical film on HBO titled ''Temple Grandin'', said the shutdown project would give people without autism a chance to experience life with the condition.

''I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream. People will have some idea of what this feels like when they take part in Communication Shutdown,'' she said.

Event organiser Melissa Tucker said while knowledge of autism in children was on the increase, support for those affected was still lacking.

''Approximately 1 in 100 children will be affected by autism, but it’s only a minority that will have sufficient access to services to help them lead an independent life."

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