Programs help families cope with autism - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Programs help families cope with autism

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - Programs in north Mississippi are helping Mid-South families cope with autism.

Tracy Robinson is a speech therapist, who helps autistic children like 9-year old Wayne to better communicate. Robinson says autism is a complicated behavior disorder that affects social skills.

"You have to really study every client to see what makes them click," she said. "What brings them out of their shell, what makes them want to communicate...everybody's different, every family is different."

The statistics are staggering: One in every 150 children is diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder.

Wayne Bartley, the father of a 13-year old autistic son, says there is no magic pill in terms of a cure. 

"Unlike a lot of the other disorders that you have, where its they have something, you do this, do this, do this. With autism, you try this, you try this, you try this," he said. 

Bartley is part of a non-profit group that is partnering with DeSoto County Schools to provide resources to help autistic students. Dr. Shiela Williams coordinates the school program, and says 300 families are now dealing with this disorder.

Williams says education and training is a 50-50 approach

"Providing training and providing the skills for the child. If you just do one of those, the kids aren't going to be successful," she said.

To learn more about Autism Awareness month activities at the First Choice Speech Center, click here.

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