PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Autism Awareness Month is celebrated throughout April, and this year will be kicked off by World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that overall autism rates in the U.S. have increased, and that one in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum.
Brett Spitale, executive director of Greater Pa. Autism Speaks, joined KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf on the Afternoon News to talk about the CDC’s new numbers.
“One thing we know is that the numbers that are out there are most certainly going to continue to rise as well, too. There are still individuals out there in the U.S. who have autism and are not yet identified,” said Spitale. “We know the CDC’s approach relies on and educational and medical service records that are certainly improving diagnosis, but you know, we are still missing these individuals who are not diagnosed so we will certainly see that number rise.”
While they feel the increase in numbers may also be due to the greater awareness and diagnoses of autism, Autism Speaks is still pushing to get the message of autism out there. They hope to one day find a better understanding of what causes Autism and the best ways to treat those who suffer from it.
“We’ve only been doing this for about 10 years now, Autism Speaks has been around. We are certainly doing our best to raise the funds, to raise the awareness to throw at these researchers to make sure the best research is happening. But it certainly is difficult, too. We know that we need more, we just can’t continue to do it alone. We need the recognition of autism as a national health priority,” Spitale said.
Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue campaign is asking people on all seven continents, landmarks, stadiums, office building, homes and more to light it up blue to raise awareness. They do this in hopes to bring a sense of support and relief to the millions of families affected by a family member with autism.
KDKA Radio wants to do their part in raising awareness for autism, and help families that are affected. We will be hosting a call center April 2 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Autism Speaks will be providing parents, therapists, psychologists and resources to answer your questions about autism.
You can hear the whole interview here: