This time last year, 1 in 166 children were reportedly diagnosed with autism but now, the Center for Disease Control says autism is more prevalent than previously thought.
The C.D.C. now says 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with autism. Most children are diagnosed by the age of five and some parents say the earlier symptoms of autism are detected, the easier it is to begin intervention.
At age 2 and a half, Jonah Steele only spoke three words and wouldn't give his mother a hug.
"It dawned on me. He never gave a hug or a kiss. He wanted to. He would lean towards us," said Jonah's mother Joyce Steele.
After Joyce says she noticed this and other odd behaviors she knew something was wrong.
"Repetitive behaviors. He would line things up continually," she said.
Kelly Lewis also has an autistic son, Matthew.
"Some of the signs we first noticed, he was almost too good," Kelly said.
Lewis says every child is different which makes diagnosing autism difficult. As an infant, her son, Matthew, didn't want to play with toys, whereas Jonah Steele would, just not as other children normally would.
"Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to success. The earlier you can diagnose and begin intervention, the bigger probability if overcoming symptoms of autism," said Matthew's father Ron Lewis.
After years of therapy and patience, seven year old Jonah is in second grade, but is reading at a fourth grade level and five year old Matthew will soon be starting kindergarten.
"It's an ongoing process. He will always be autistic but there are things that make him precious because of that," Joyce said.
Both the Lewis and Steele family say interaction with siblings and peers is very important in helping autistic children develop normally.
Has autisim affected your life? Do you have any suggestions to help those affected by autism?