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Shocking statistics show autism prevalence on the rise

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The Centers for Disease Control released an alarming new statistic Thursday: one in 68 people in the U.S. are now diagnosed with autism.

These new numbers came as no surprise to people who work and live with autism every day. But, that doesn't mean it's not a big concern.

"That's someone in your neighborhood. That's someone in every single class in school. Autism is here," said Mary Beth Redmond, the Director of Community and Family Services at The ARC Oneida-Lewis chapter.

The ARC serves about 60 families dealing with the challenges of Autism, but that number is going up.

"There is an increase in autism. To go from 1 in 150 to 1 in 68, but some it is just better diagnosis," said Redmond.

But what do these numbers mean? More families requiring more services. Local mom Deb Dziekonski has a 25-year-old son with autism. He requires constant supervision. Her biggest concern right now is his future.

"We're not getting any younger as parents. We're going to be getting close to 60 years old and he's going to need to always live with somebody and right now there really are no new residential placements, certified residential placements, where he can get that 24/7 assistance and support that he needs in a safe, secure home," said Dziekonski.

The ARC has residential placement, but their home is full and New York State isn't looking to open any more group homes due to budget constraints. The ARC says it's a trend they're dealing with.

"New York State is saying we have to do more with less, but at a certain point there's only so much you can do," said Redmond.

Dziekonski hopes the new numbers will shine light on the need for more services.
 
"We're tired and we're exhausted and we need help. Desperately, we need help," said Dziekonski.

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