The Color Me Au-Some 5K Walk/Run — a fun and unique event where participants are covered, coated, swathed and plastered with dry tempera paint powder at stations throughout the course — is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 8.

“We are excited for this year’s Color Me Au-Some 5K Walk/Run,” Race Director Staci Stephen said. “The race is a family-friendly event that raises money for local children with autism that attend ALLC. After participants cross the finish line, they can join us for music, awards, door prizes, refreshments and get their picture taken with Spike and Ohio Valley Batman! Although we will be giving out awards following the race, it’s the kids at ALLC that are the true winners! We hope to see the entire Ohio Valley there!”

Packet pick-up will be available from 4-7 p.m. Friday, June 7, and 7-8 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at Heritage Port. To register, send an email to stacistephen@gmail.com. For a printable race application or visit www.colormeausome.com. Participants who are pre-registered by Friday, May 24, are guaranteed a T-shirt and a race bag of goodies including a pair of sunglasses.

Participants are encouraged to wear white to fully engage in the “color me process.”

Following the race, participants can enjoy refreshments, door prizes, an awards ceremony and music provided by Nick Arno Entertainment.

Title sponsors for this year’s event are Cassidy, Cogan, Shapell and Voegelin; Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration; Rohrig Heavy Equipment Maintenance; WTRF; Lamar Advertising; Subway; and DiCarlo’s Pizza (St. Clairsville).

The Color Me Au-Some 5K Walk and Run course incorporates one of the city’s oldest and most recognizable landmarks, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge. The course starts at the picturesque Wheeling Waterfront, goes south to 20th Street, up Market Street to 10th Street, across the Suspension Bridge, around Wheeling Island, back over the Suspension Bridge, and down Main Street, returning to the waterfront.

Awards will be given to the top five female and male walkers and runners and the top three female and male finishers in the following age categories: 9 and under, 10-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and the top finisher in 70+.

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. On April 26, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified one  in 59 children (one in 37 boys and one in 151 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

Yet, treatment is available. Over 40 years of replicable research has shown that when children receive early intensive evidence-based treatment, more than 90 percent will gain skills at a higher rate than those in usual community programs, and half of them will improve to the point of losing their diagnosis and becoming indistinguishable from their peers. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the best-known and most widely-researched evidence-based treatment for children with autism. ABA can improve the socialization, language, and cognitive skills of children while reducing self-injurious, aggressive, and disruptive behaviors. To be effective, this treatment must be, at least initially, intensive, individualized, offered on a 1:1 basis, and follow the principles of the science of behavior analysis.

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