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‘Autism Speaks’ connects people with resources

ST. LOUIS, MO — Families across the country find the support they need through an organization called Autism Speaks. Father Steve Houston says parents across the country react pretty much the way he did.

“The first thing that happens to a parent when they hear the diagnosis is 'what the heck am I going to do.' Every parent wants their child to live a full life,” said Steve Houston.

John Houston, 22, was diagnosed with Renpenning syndrome at the age of two. The nature of autism or autism spectrum disorder means families must work differently to ensure the child has a full life.

The disorder impacts a child's cognitive development, social skills, speech and nonverbal communication.  Seizures and other medical issues come with the diagnosis for some families.

“It's extremely rare, almost exclusively found in boys, and it isn’t the cause of autism, it's a contributor to autism.  Basically, it manifests itself in the smaller head size the smaller stature,” said Steve Houston.

The Houston’s found the help they needed through Autism Speaks. There are over 40 tool kits on their website that help you address specific issues such as transitioning from school to work. They have tool kits that can help if your child has a meltdown in a public place.

The Houston’s also discovered the genetic component.  Steve’s wife is from a family of five sisters. Three of the sisters have kids diagnosed with autism.

“There's a lot of things people might take for granted in raising your kid. You can't take them for granted in raising a child with autism,” said Houston.

The annual Autism Speaks Walk is Saturday, Oct. 14th in Forest Park.  FOX 2 is a proud sponsors