The Color Run Rocks the Spectrum

When thinking of a spectrum disorder, my mind’s eye automatically pictures color.

April is Autism Awareness Month. This is the time where those who work with, 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 an individual 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 will benefit Autism Speaks and The Color Run is an event that tours cities in the U.S. throughout the year to promote comradery, happiness, and healthy living. Since its beginning in 2011, the event has raised more than $5 million for various charities.

Running is a sport that requires not much equipment and an imagination, a decent pair of shoes, 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. The disorder affects communication, socialization, and reading social signals, something these individuals are not good at.

Running is something they can do themselves, rely on themselves, and get self-satisfaction. 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 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 Color Run will take place at 8 a.m. on April 22 at Poekler/Kaufmann Park in downtown St. Louis. It is a 5k run that 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 in 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

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