Elkins to go blue for autism awareness

ELKINS – Local businesses and residents are encouraged to put on blue Wednesday as Elkins shines a light on autism in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is lit up in blue as is the Washington Monument in D.C.

Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, is working with the city of Elkins to organize an awareness gathering at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Elkins City Hall.

“Mayor Van Broughton will sign a proclamation for the event which will feature blue lights, a small reception with light refreshments and small free giveaways,” Campbell said. “We want to encourage businesses to put up blue lights and residents to dress in blue to shine awareness on autism. We invite everyone to come and join us for this event.”

Broughton said he is looking forward to the event.

“We sent a memo to Elkins city employees asking them to wear blue Wednesday in honor of World Autism Awareness Day,” Broughton said. “We are honored to be hosting this event that will shed more awareness on autism.”

Broughton said he learned staggering facts about autism.

“One child in 88 is diagnosed with autism,” Broughton said. “We need to find more about the cause and cure.”

Campbell said that she recognizes and understands how tragic all diagnoses for special needs students can be.

“Autism is something I am very concerned with,” Campbell said. “My son Logan was diagnosed with autism when he was three.”

Campbell said there is a saying about autism she likes to share – one unique thing about autism is that if you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.

“Each person with autism is completely different, each has different treatment and intervention needs,” Campbell said. “But with community support and awareness, we can assure our children will be accepted and not limited. People with autism are just as special as any child and given the opportunity, can do amazing things.”

Campbell said when her son was born, one in 150 children were diagnosed with autism.

“That number has grown to one in 88 children who will be diagnosed with autism,” Campbell said. “We hope folks will show their support, strive to learn more about autism and join us at Elkins City Hall Wednesday. The ultimate goal in our quest is to learn the cause and find a prevention for autism.”