Greensboro, NC -- Tuesday, April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Sydney's famous opera house in Australia was lit up in blue to highlight the day. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness with the blue light campaign and improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from autism.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects a person's social interaction, behavior and communication skills. A new study by the Centers For Disease Control says up to 1 in 50 American children has some form of autism. That's up from last year's estimate of 1-in-88.
Here in the Triad, we know several families are impacted by autism every day. A few years ago, we introduced you to Emily Kassay. Her mother, Virginia, was painting to help Emily learn. She then started selling her art, and giving the proceeds to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for autism research.
In 2010, Emily's school started using a device that allowed her to communicate with her family and teachers. In 2011, with the help of the Murphy's Kids charity, Emily's family bought a machine of their own. She was able to use it at home and improve her communication.
Since then, Emily's mom, Virginia said she's now learned how to write words on paper, and has continued to improve her communication skills. Virginia said, "I just want her to be who she can be, who she wants to be."
For more information on the signs and symptoms of autism, click here.
WFMY News 2