Community gathers in support of autism awareness - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community gathers in support of autism awareness

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Community organizations and families are coming together to raise awareness about autism.

For more than 20 years, April 2 has been recognized as World Autism Awareness Day.

According to the center for disease control and prevention study, one in 50 children in the United States may be affected by autism, otherwise known as asd. 

Tuesday, at Miller Plaza, people were dressed in blue for support. 

Students, families and community leaders were invited to support agencies that serve those who have autism.

"For the city of Chattanooga to support all the work the  people in this room do - the providers do so much for our kids and they also do so much for our families," says Mayor elect Andy Berke.

Representatives from agencies like Siskin, Signal Centers, and Orange Grove took the podium to talk about how they are advocates for parents and children that have autism.

"We also need to be sure that parents and caregivers get the support they need. They will be called upon to be lifelong experts in this field and we want to make sure they have the info and support to help their child reach their goals," says Donna Mcconnico with Signal Centers.

Adam and Brittany Levitt shared their personal journey of how autism affected their 21-month-old daughter, Copeland and how early diagnosis was vital.

"Our outlook for her now is basically the same as our other two kids, and we think the sky is the limit. Definitely is going to be harder for her and challenges for her, but we don't see the reason why she can't live a very productive life," says Adam.

The crowd had the chance to clap and sing along with Crystal Jackson. Crystal was diagnosed with autism when she was 3 years old. Now age 25, Crystal's  mom believes that Orange Grove has been vital to her daughter's progress.

"They had a lot to do with where she is today. She is as smart as she is because of early intervention," says Jackson.

"Everyone is unique and we have to learn what makes their world so special and make sure we do everything we can to enlighten their world," says Monica Boggus.

Throughout the month of April, the water fountain at Miller Plaza will be blue for autism awareness month.



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