The Color Run Rocks the Spectrum

Running can make the life of someone on the autism spectrum shine.

If you don’t know already, April is Autism Awareness Month. This is when those who work with someone, love someone with, or have autism take the time to speak out about how it affects their lives and how you can help. I am the mother of a son on the spectrum and I also work with individuals who are affected by autism. In the 10-plus years I have undertaken this journey with my son, awareness has increased. There seems to be more understanding and more tolerance, but the work needs to continue.

When thinking of a spectrum disorder, my mind’s eye automatically pictures color, all sorts of color, every color you see in the spectrum of light. How fitting, then, that this year in St. Louis, the Color Run benefits Autism Speaks and Rettsyndrome.org. The Color Run is an event that tours cities in the U.S. throughout the year promoting comradery, happiness, and healthy living. It has proven a great success since its beginnings in 2011, raising more than $5 million for various charities.

Running is a sport that requires minimal equipment, a decent pair of shoes, imagination, and a curiosity to explore the environment around you. It is something that can be done alone, or with a team. For this very fact, running can make the life of someone on the autism spectrum shine. Team sports are difficult for kids and adults with autism. They involve communication, socialization, and reading social signals, something they are not good at.

Running is something they can do themselves, rely on themselves, and get self-satisfaction from. My son runs. He is extremely good at it and I have seen his self-confidence grow since he joined his running team. The Color Run for Autism Speaks and Rettsyndrome.org is a no-brainer for me. They are two pieces of the puzzle that fit perfectly together.

This year’s theme is the Dream World Tour. The 5k run includes a colored foam zone, powder color zones, a Dream Wall for painting your aspirations, giant unicorns, and color throws at the finish. This is a chance to bring color into your life, to experience the literalness of the color spectrum, and to give a hand to those on the autism spectrum. This goes beyond the celebration of life and celebrates our neurodiversity. | Lisa LaRose

The St. Louis run takes place April 22 at Poekler/Kaufmann Park downtown; the tour hits Denver June 17 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; other cities and dates can be found here.

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