Desoto County News

Blue Block Party promotes autism awareness

Photo: Dancing, games, and food were part of Saturday’s Blue Block Party in the Longview Heights Baptist Church’s parking lot on Saturday, April 22. (Bob Bakken/

A new report says that about one in 36 American children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). That’s according to the latest estimates from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, which promotes awareness and knowledge for those who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a set of complex developmental disabilities that affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with other people.

Among the activities done in DeSoto County to put a spotlight on autism this month is the annual Blue Block Party, held on Saturday, April 22 at Longview Heights Baptist Church in Olive Branch. Put on by the Arc Northwest Mississippi, the Blue Block Party brings together fun opportunities with groups that focus on ASD awareness. The morning event held in the church’s parking lot was sponsored by the church, Arc Northwest Mississippi, and Mississippi Behavior Services.  Longview Heights Baptist Church has a Special Needs Ministry that has been in existence for over 20 years called “Four Friends.” 

Rebecca Treadway, Arc Northwest Mississippi Executive Director, said the day was a great way to enjoy time together in the morning and support awareness, noting Saturday brought out likely the largest turnout ever.  

“We’re so excited for all of our vendors that came out today to celebrate with us, it’s a great time,” Treadway said. “We just want everyone to be aware that there are people that have autism and they are folks that just want everything that other folks want. Not only should we be aware but accepting of their behaviors and to try to help them do the best they can in society.”

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