Mayors sign pledge to promote autism awareness - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Mayors sign pledge to promote autism awareness

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – One in every 68 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder according to the latest estimates for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week.

April is also Autism Awareness Month and mayors from Charleston and North Charleston signed their proclamations supporting autism awareness in their cities. The day was capped off with a town hall meeting in West Ashley to help families living with autism.

The town hall is a way for families in the Lowcountry to find out what resources are available to them and to discuss why so many children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

"It's so important that we support and encourage all those involved in dealing with autism," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley on Tuesday.

Riley declared April Autism Awareness Month in the City of Charleston.

"The troubling growth in this disorder within our population is all the more reason for us to get behind the efforts, research as well as giving support," he said.

Walt Jenner is the autism education and outreach coordinator at the Medical University. He says this declaration comes just five days after the CDC announced their most recent study on the number of children living with an autism spectrum disorder.

"The new announcement for the centers for disease control of the prevalence of autism in the United States, that number is 1 in 68, which is a somewhat alarming number," Jenner said.

Jenner says a MUSC is participating in the same CDC prevalence study, but they are also conducting their own studies on autism. He says research in the Lowcountry is a top priority for his team at MUSC.

"The new announcement for the centers for disease control of the prevalence of autism in the United States, that number is 1 in 68, which is a somewhat alarming number," he said.

Since the cause of autism is still unknown Jenner says it's important for early intervention.

"Early intervention is so important autism can be recognized by two years of age, according to our research. The average age of assessment, the average age of diagnosis, is four so we want to drive that number down to two.," Jenner said.

Wednesday is World Autism Day and homes and businesses will turn on a blue light for autism awareness.


  • Ava Wilhite

    Email: awilhite@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile




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