CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) – The Autism Awareness flag was raised over Chicopee City Hall Monday in recognition of Autism Awareness Month.

The flag raising also signaled stepped up efforts by the Chicopee Police Department to help residents who are living with autism and need special help.

Chicopee Police Sergeant Melissa Lyman told 22News, “Well we’re expanding our autism program to include sensory bags for when they have sensory overload, communication cards for individuals who are non-verbal.”

Mayor John Vieau proudly called attention to his city’s commitment to recognizing the efforts of those with a long term commitment to helping people with autism, “One out of every 45 children in the United States has been diagnosed with autism. We hope to rid that someday. Right here in the city of Chicopee, we’re proud to raise the autism flag up.”

Chicopee is home to Sunshine Village where hundreds of autistic individuals have been receiving specialized treatment for more than half a century.