Autism Awareness Month 2012

April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to focus attention on those with autism and related pervasive developmental disorders. The Centers for Disease Control just released a study estimating that 1 in 88 children in the United States have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder -- up from an estimate of 1 in 156 ten years ago. According to the CDC, only part of this growth is related to increased awareness and early diagnosis. Recent efforts in early detection and educational intervention have shown encouraging results, bringing a measure of hope to often difficult family situations. Relatives and caretakers will tell you that working with those with autism can be both the most frustrating and the most rewarding experience of their lives. My only brother is autistic, and my family and I know these difficulties and rewards well. He's an adult now, living happily in a group home much like the one featured in the final four photos below by Kevin Wellenius. Many thanks to the families and photographers who are sharing their personal, intimate photos here today.

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