Desoto County News

Arc Northwest Mississippi holds Blue Block Party in Olive Branch

Photo: Face Painting was among the activities featured at Saturday’s Blue Block Party in Olive Branch. (Bob Bakken/

Saturday morning was the annual Blue Block Party for the Arc Northwest Mississippi, held in Olive Branch. Arc Northwest Mississippi Executive Director Rebecca Treadway says this event has grown every year and is meant to be a fun morning for everyone, while also presenting some of the services and programs that aid those on the autistic spectrum.  

The Blue Block Party filled a good share of the east parking lot at Longview Heights Baptist Church in Olive Branch and is typically held on a Saturday morning close to or at the end of April, which is Autism Awareness Month.  

Arc Northwest Mississippi is a non-profit organization, advocating for and providing programming for people with disabilities. 

The block party has the name “Blue,” a color associated with autism. Blue is considered a calming color for those on the autism spectrum and also represents stability and trust.  

The Autism Speaks organization started the “LIght It Up Blue” campaign in 2010 to encourage people to wear blue clothing and light blue lights for autism awareness, and to promote understanding and acceptance of those in the spectrum. 

The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a set of complex developmental disabilities that affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with other people.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, approximately one in 36 children has been identified with ASD. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and is four times more common among boys than among girls.

About four in 100 boys and one in 100 girls in the U.S. have autism, according to the CDC.