April 2 marks World Autism Awareness Day, and new government data shows the disorder is more common than previously thought.
One in 88 children is affected by autism spectrum disorder. The increase is attributed to better diagnosis processes and more screenings.
"The real message is there is just an imminent need for service," said Linell Weinberg, representative for the Autism Society for Northwest Ohio. "Services are scattered, they're not available in every place, and they're not affordable to all families and individuals."
Weinberg said the awareness day encourages parents to learn more about autism and get their children screened by age 3. She stresses the importance of early treatment because her own daughter wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome until she left for college
"Autism is a lifelong disability, all of us spend two-thirds, three-quarters of our lives as adults," Weinberg said. "The symptoms are treatable, we believe everybody in the community can work, live in the community, have relationships and adults with autism can as well."
More info: Autism Society of Northwest Ohio