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April brings attention to autism

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - April is national Autism Awareness Month. It's a disease affecting the brain development of more and more children each day.

Autism rates have continued to grow throughout the years, which is why officials at the region's only center for autism, Highlands Center for Autism, say the month of April is so important.

Maxanna Cook, with Highlands Regional Medical Center says, "It really is an epidemic and it really deserves a whole month of dedication because it is so prevalent right now."

In 2006, statistics showed 1 out of every 110 children were affected by the disease, that number grew to 1 out of every 88, and just last week a new government survey estimates 1 out of every 50 children has autism.

Cook explains, "Autism is different in every single child, it is like a snowflake, they are all snowflakes, but they are all different, each kid has their own path and needs."

Officials say they are committed to helping each of those children and their families fight the disease. Therapist Adam Roberts says, "You get a kid that is down here and in five or six weeks or however long they are here and then they are up here, it is just so amazing."

Therapists at the Highlands Center for Autism say it is wonderful there is an entire month dedicated to autism and they hope the commitment and awareness extends beyond the month of April.

Roberts says, "The kids here are awesome. The disease in general is so inspiring and it motivates you."

While there is no known cause or cure, therapists remain committed, "Keep the awareness up and keep helping those that come to us."

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