JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new report from the Centers for Disease Control indicates a 33 percent increase in the discovery of autism in America. The study looked at 7-year-olds in 11 states and found the disease impacts four times as many boys as girls.
Liz Zurn's son Jack Zurn turns 8 on Tuesday; he's like other boys his age, excited about video games and his upcoming birthday party.
"Most of the available help is when they're in school and the schools are going to be inundated. I mean, one in 68 kids?" said Zurn.
As "normal" as Jack seems, Zurn has spent more than six years becoming an expert on treating autism and helping her son manage the disorder.
Zurn got her master's degree in treatment because she said that would be smarter than the enormous expense of paying someone else for therapy.
"We were told, when first diagnosed, he may not learn to speak again. You may lose your child inside of his brain. You may lose him. You may have long-term care needs," said Zurn. "There came a point where my husband and I just looked at each other and said, ‘We're going to be bankrupt.' We have no other options."
Zurn advocates for the national organization Autism Speaks; she wants to see this news from the CDC that one in 68 children, which appears in the latest report, will turn into action on a national scale.
"They are a big sign in the sky that we all need to look at, say this isn't just a state issue, this is a national issue. We need to look at an epidemic, national problem," said Zurn. "It's not just an autism family problem. It's everybody's problem right now, because as the problem grows, numbers grow and we still don't have answers, there's not enough resources, not enough advocates, there's not enough research," said Zurn.
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