Special series: Dissecting autism one piece at a time

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Nov. 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.

Unraveling autism's mystery proves to be a never-ending jigsaw puzzle for the families coping with the disorder.

Almost 1 in 110 children in the U.S. is diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum.

The prevalence is higher in boys, at 1 in 70.

Apply the national statistic to the Crossroads' population of about 200,000, and there exists a sub-population of about 1,800 people with diagnosed and undiagnosed autism.

But there is more than just the spectrum of diagnosis that comes along with autism. There is also the spectrum of emotions and issues each family faces living with and loving a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew or friend with autism.

Despite the disorder's high prevalence, the autistic population is only a blip on the community's radar - but some local families are ready to fight an all-out war for awareness.

The Advocate begins a four-part weekly series Sunday that takes a closer look at autism and the people who live with it.

Part 1: Family learns to deal with diagnosis of their first-born son

Part 2: Mother tries to give her child a voice

Part 3 of special series on autism: Mother pushes son to do all he can

Part 4: Mother hopes autistic son can live independently



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