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‘What matters is Autism understanding:’ Lexington couple raises awareness of Autism spectrum disorder

World Autism Awareness Day is Saturday, and one Lexington couple shared their story to help the cause.
Published: Apr. 2, 2022 at 1:01 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - World Autism Awareness Day is Saturday, and one Lexington couple shared their story to help the cause.

Cameron and Susan Mills are parents to 8-year-old Alex. Cameron is his step-dad and said Alex has taught him a lot about the disorder. Alex was diagnosed with autism at two.

“He’s incredibly gifted, intelligent, he’s so sensitive and empathetic,” his mom, Susan said.

Cameron said learning how to communicate with and parent Alex took time.

“Am I going to be patient enough to be a special needs parent?,” he said.

Susan started the nonprofit, My Autism Tribe, to help parents and caregivers not feel so alone.

“I think if we really start trying to learn at a deeper level what makes all of us tick we can create a better place in our community,” she said.

Cameron said people can make an effort to understand autism by assuming less, and asking more questions.

“His buddies are very autism aware,” he said. “They may not even know he has autism, but they’re aware Alex communicates a little bit differently, acts a little bit differently...but he’s still their buddy and they treat him like one, and that’s what I think this day and month needs to be about.”

Susan said she’s seen change on the local level.

“If a family is eating out and their child is being overwhelmed with the sounds or smells, restaurants can have headphones behind the counter, just like they would have crayons,” she said.

She said Kentucky is leading the way on insurance mandate reform, which helps pay for Alex’s therapy.

‘We were paying $3,000 a week out of pocket for autism therapy.....because [Illinois] did not have an insurance mandate...I went from paying $3,000 a week in Illinois to $20 in Kentucky,” Susan said.

She said her son has improved so much because of the advances made in their community and nationwide.

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