SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) -
You may have noticed a number of people wearing blue on Tuesday.
It's all to raise awareness of autism that affects 1 in 88 children, including little Carmelina from Springfield.
On the surface Carmelina appears to be a bright child striving to be an artist one day.
What you may not suspect is life is a daily struggle for her and her twin brother, as it is for many other Massachusetts children who are autistic.
"When one is getting dressed one is yelling for help because she can't, one is going to be having a meltdown on the floor screaming while the other one might be bouncing off furniture," said Carmelina's mom, Donna Durocher.
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that affects 1 in 88 children.
Although parents say it ultimately impacts the whole family.
"It's really shown us what its like to go through struggles," said Springfield's Gilberto Molina.
"They were diagnosed when they were 3 years old and it's been a very emotional roller coaster ride trying to get them the help that they need," added Lillian Rodriguez.
That's why April is Autism Awareness Month.
Some communities will illuminate blue lights on homes and buildings - others will wear blue and sport pins.
Parents say it's important to them the community is behind them.
"It's really something you need to take care of. Children can grow up and not be able to fully function as adults if we' don't see the problem now," said Indian Orchard's Rosamaria Santiago.
"We just need the community to know that we need that support whether it be moral support, whether it be educating themselves to help assist us and getting things done in life," added Springfield's Jacqueline Williams-Hines.