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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s becoming more common, and it’s becoming more diagnosed.

Almost all of us know someone one on the autistic spectrum.

April is Awareness Month.

That diagnosis should not be something for parents to fear.

It’s merely a starting point.

Where that journey leads depends on all of us.

The latest research suggests that as many as 1 in 50 Americans falls on the Autistic Spectrum.

That’s a lot of people, but it’s also a large spectrum.

Dr. Mark Yeager is the Executive Director of TEAAM Autism.

He says, ” I think it’s being more diagnosed and there is more of it. I think we are getting better at recognizing what it is that we call autism.”

An autistic person’s i-q can climb well into the genius range, or not.

Autistic people typically have trouble with social interaction.

What causes autism is the subject of a very spirited debate with very few definitive answers.

Money is pouring into research.

Meanwhile families with autistic children are all to often left on their own.

Dr. Yeager cautions, ” We have families who are here and now, and they need help, and they need support and the focus and resources needed to make those things happen is just not out there.”

Educating people about that need is a big part of Autism Awareness Month.

An autism diagnosis should be the start of making lives better.

That’s the only way to look at it.

Dr. Yeager says, ” It changes the journey suddenly. It’s a life with a different view almost instantly, but that’s the important thing is that there is a life there that has a future, but it’s a matter of taking it day by day, and understanding of whatever days are telling you, learn from that and figure out how the next day needs to unfold, and eventually those days become weeks and months and it gets bigger.”

If the diagnosis is the end of the beginning, education for all is the next step.

Dr. Yeager explains why he strongly supports inclusion for autistic children in next weeks edition of the Changing Family.

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