Autism Awareness Month: Putting a spotlight on the disorder

Bay City , Mich-- April is Autism Awareness Month and to honor it NBC25/ FOX66 invited Autism Coordinator at Covenant Center for Autism in Bay City, Tim Obertein to answer question about the disorder.

According to Obertein there has been an increase in Autism prevalence since 2002, he believes it may have something to do with earlier detection and diagnosis. There are also more detection centers popping up allowing parents to get their children checked for the disorder.

Currently in Michigan there are at least 14 approved Autism Evaluation Centers (AAEC).

He says some estimates show that the prevalence maybe as high as 1 and 45 children are on the spectrum. He says every child on the autism spectrum is a little bit different.

At Covenant Center for Autism in Bay City, the staff is currently working with 15 children with Autism. They range in age from 20 months to eight years old.

At the center the staff uses Applied Behavioral Analysis one of the approved treatment methods. Obertein says treatment can be expensive, more than $100,000 dollars per year in some cases, but insurance does cover it for some families.

Overall, Obertein says the Autism Awareness Month is all about promoting education and understanding for those who don't know much about the disorder.

" If someone sees a kid acting up in the grocery store or you see a kid being disruptive it might not be bad parenting or a bad child, they could have autism and that could be their way of communicating" said Obertein.

If you live in Mid-Michigan and have question about Autism you are encouraged to call the center at 989-671-5738.

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