Smyth County

Child diagnosed with autism at 22 months

World Autism Day recognized April 2

Child diagnosed with autism at 22 months

SALTVILLE, Va. - April 2 has been designated World Autism Day, a day set aside to draw attention to an ever-increasing problem.

Chances are you or someone you know are affected by this developmental disorder. It's characterized by a lack of communication or socialization skills, or repetitive behavior.

It is estimated some form of autism affects one in 88 children and one in 54 boys. Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism.

There's no medical detection or cure for the fastest-growing developmental disability in America. It could cost a family about $60,000 a year to care for a child with autism.

We found a family that became aware that their child had autism just last week. 22-month-old Braydon Olinger seems perfectly content to sit in the floor and play with his iPad.

If you notice, he doesn't speak while playing. It was a concern for his family and his pediatrician. "The big thing that got her attention was when he was a little bit younger he would babble at lot and it seems a little bit after his first birthday he just was completely mute. I didn't know if maybe he was getting sick; it just seemed he just quit babbling," mother Emily Olinger said.

So she and her husband thought maybe it was his hearing that was the problem. "He's got two therapists that work with him and they said if he can't hear the sounds enough he can't make the sounds with his mouth. So that's when I thought 'OK, I'll take him for a hearing test and see how this goes from there.' That's when it evolved into a possibility it could be autism," Emily said.

Autism is a developmental disorder that usually shows itself by age three with a lack of communication and social skills and a preoccupation with repetitive activities and a single focus.

"No parent likes to hear 'there's something different about your child.' It's scary and when I heard the words out loud it was different than thinking he has this, knowing that he has it and [wondering] what to do next," she says.

But with early diagnosis and professional help Braydon has a bright future; it's just going to be a different future.

Braydon's family got lots of information from the web site Autism Speaks -- Click here to visit the site.

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