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'Blue Day' highlights autism awareness
by Zack Steen
Mar 30, 2017 | 900 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
April is Autism Awareness Month and two Crossroads area groups will celebrate it with several special events.

Reconnect 4 Autism will team up from Region IV Mental Health for a school-related project on Monday to raise funds for locals with Autism.

“We’re calling it Blue Day,” said Reconnect 4 Autism founder Brad Essary. “School staff will be able to pay $5 to wear blue jeans that day. They will also wear blue Autism awareness shirts.”

Local schools set to participate include Corinth city and Alcorn County schools, Tishomingo and Prentiss county schools and Booneville city schools.

“Blue is Autism Speaks’ signature color – ‘Light It Up Blue’ – so blue jeans and blue shirts are perfect ways to raise awareness in our schools,” added Essary.

The local group will also host a Sensory Friendly showing of the “Smurfs The Lost Village” on April 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the Malco Corinth Cinema 10.

“Another perfect way to raise awareness ... the Smurfs are blue which adds another connection to Autism,” said Essary.

Other upcoming Sensory Friendly films include “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” on May 13 and “Cars 3” on June 24.

The films are shown in a sensory friendly environment by turning down the movie’s sound and leaving the theater’s lights on. Malco also provides closed captioning for the movies for those with hearing impairment. Those in attendance are encouraged to move around if needed as well as sing and dance along to the movie.

“The shows are open to all abilities,” said Essary. “Reconnect and our sponsors provide the opportunity free of charge to children 16 and under as well as individuals with disability of any age.”

The Austin’s Shoes Reconnect for Autism Color Run is another event slated for April.

In it’s third year, the run will move to Shiloh Ridge Golf Course.

“The route is going to be a nice change for everyone,” added Essary. “About one mile long going along the back nine through the golf course and some of the community. The staff at Shiloh Ridge has been really great to us.”

Set for April 29 at 9 a.m., registration is now open for the race.

“We have several sponsorship opportunities still available, including color blast sponsorships,” said the founder. “A local company can actually sponsor a color ... for example, TriGreen John Deere is sponsoring the green this year.”

Another Corinth-based Austin Awareness group, CAUSE, will host their fifth annual Autism Day on April 8.

Held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Corinth Depot, the event includes vendors, jumpers and entertainment.

In the United States more than 3.5 million live with autism. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. It is the fastest growing developmental disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

(For more information about Reconnect 4 Autism, visit reconnect4austism.com. For more information about CAUSE, contact Leonda McDowell at 662-415-1340.)
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