April 2, 2013

Lighting the town blue for autism

Event starts off Autism Awareness Month

by Caitlin Huston

— Event organizers are hoping Logansport turns blue today, as they kick off Autism Awareness Month.

In its second year, the “Light the Town Blue” event asks townspeople to put blue light bulbs in their homes or businesses to help spread awareness of autism. The event culminates at 6 p.m. tonight, as Mayor Ted Franklin speaks and event participants walk around the town.

The event will also feature face-painting and a balloon launch.

Organizer Marlene Espinoza said last year they had many people put a blue light out on their porch. But this year, Espinoza said she would like more businesses and storefronts to include blue.

“We’re really asking that the town get even more creative,” Espinoza said.

An award will be given out to the business that has the most blue light, Espinoza said.

The blue lights are part of the national campaign of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization. Espinoza said though autism is typically represented by rainbow colors, blue is the specific color of this campaign.

At 6 tonight, Espinoza said Franklin will proclaim the “Light the Town Blue” event an official town event. Afterwards, she’s asking everyone to follow her as they walk down Broadway and finish up back by the City Building.

“We’re hoping to have at least 35 people or more there,” Espinoza said.

In the park behind the City Building, Nicole Hicks, from the Autism Society of Indiana, will answer questions while face-painting and other activities will be offered to kids.

Hicks said this year’s message is about accepting autistic children, whether it to be befriending them or understanding their behavior in stores.  

“It’s more of a community-wide acceptance,” Hicks said.

Espinoza, the mother of a 4-year-old autistic child, said she is also hoping to spread the message of how to understand and love autistic children.

“There’s a different type of sympathy when your child gets diagnosed with autism,” Espinoza said. “It shows more as a pity and we want to change that.”

Espinoza and two other mothers of autistic children are helping organize the entire event. And while its a small workforce, Espinoza said that the work they’re doing is making a difference.

“Sometimes that’s what it takes to get things started,” Espinoza said.  

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or

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