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Easter Seals Notes April's Autism Awareness Month to Highlight Services Available to Families Living With Autism
Date:4/1/2008

Need for Heightened Autism Awareness among Hispanic Community as Fewer

Receiving Diagnosis and Support

CHICAGO, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Easter Seals is shining the spotlight on its services for individuals living with autism, among the vast array of services the national nonprofit provides for people with disabilities and their loved ones.

Over the last 20 years, Easter Seals has seen a dramatic increase in the number of children and adults with autism the organization serves. Today, as many as one in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism* -- that's a new diagnosis every 20 minutes -- making autism more prevalent than Down syndrome, childhood diabetes, and childhood cancer combined.

"The prevalence of autism among Hispanics is lower than non-Hispanic ethnic groups (1 in 300 vs. 1 in 150). This is most likely due to under-diagnosis and not that fewer Hispanics have autism," says Nilda M. Morales, Easter Seals' national Hispanic autism spokesperson and executive director of Easter Seals Puerto Rico.

While autism is a baffling, lifelong disability, it is treatable. A basic rule for treating autism is the earlier the intervention, the better. If parents are worried their child may have autism, they should follow their instincts, share their concerns with their pediatrician, get a diagnosis, and seek help from service providers such as Easter Seals. Autism is a lifelong spectrum disorder that affects each individual differently and in varying degrees -- getting the right help at the earliest stage of life can help a child gain the skills he or she needs to be successful.

"There is hope. People living with autism -- at any age -- are capable of making significant progress through personalized interventions and therapy; and, can and do lead meaningful lives," adds Morales.

Critical Need for Services

Every family living with autism faces unique challenges. The fact is, individuals wit
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SOURCE Easter Seals
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