As the number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise, health advocates and family members do their part to raise awareness of the disorder. Our Lori Chung reports.
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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. -- "He gets this visual satisfaction from lining things like trains and cars up," said Rochelle Sibilia.
At a glance, there's not much to give away that three-and-a-half-year-old Max Sibilia has autism.
"We kept asking about why isn't he speaking yet, why isn't he speaking yet and we kept being told just hold out it will eventually happen and it wasn't happening," Sibilia said.
A second opinion from a different pediatrician brought an autism diagnosis. While the Sibilia family is learning to adjust to Max's differences, the CDC says theirs is among a growing number of autism cases. A new study now showing 1 in 88 children diagnosed with some form of the disorder.
"Shocked, sad to see it," said Janine Kruiswijk, Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region Executive Director.
Kruiswijk is the Executive Director of the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region, one of the groups hoping to spread awareness of the condition this month.
"About 50 percent of that is due to the fact that we have better ways to diagnose,” Kruiswijk said. “We're looking at a broader picture of autism, but there's still an increase that we can't explain."
While researchers try to pin down a cause, there are resources for families like the Sibilia's. Organizations like Wildwood Programs say support for developmental disabilities is also growing.
"There's a lot of early intervention programs out there that provide families with information, that provide families with support at home," said Haydee Brito, Wildwood Programs Behavior Specialist.
Sibilia credits those available programs for Max's ongoing development, which has surpassed expectations since his diagnosis a year and a half ago.
"We’ve just seen him blossom with communication and social skills," Sibilia said.
Showing there is hope for the rising number of families faced with autism.