Autism is a neurological disorder that affects three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction, and creative play.
It's not a death sentence. Instead, parents say it’s more about refocusing goals you have for your child.
Autism is being called an epidemic. Currently one in 160 children is diagnosed, and four out of five of them are boys.
What causes the condition depends on who you ask; genetics, the environment, even immunizations have been researched as possible factors.
To see five year old Ryan Dent playing with his family, you would never know there was anything wrong, but three years ago, that wasn't the case.
The younger of twins, Ryan had learned to both walk and talk before his sister Kristen, but at around 18 months his speech turned to gibberish.
Ryan was put in six different therapies a week. The therapies focused on developing his speech, his motor skills, and his social interaction.
Overstimulation can be a big issue for autistic kids. Trips to restaurants or stores are extremely trying, and people don't always understand the underlying reason for the behavior problems.
Ryan recently tested out of speech therapy, has blossomed since starting kung fu last year and will be in a regular kindergarten classroom in the fall.
Another key to survival is a strong support system, whether it's family or a support group.
The Allen County Autism Support Group has been in operation since the beginning of this year. For those interested in the autism support group or just want to discuss the topic, you can contact Debbie Meador at 270-237-4473.
To find other support groups in the area....log onto http://www.ket.org/kidshealth/development/pdf/autism_support_groups.pdf