Autism Center in Carbondale needs lawmakers to listen up - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Autism Center in Carbondale needs lawmakers to listen up

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Parents of children with autism are making sure lawmakers know these kids can't be helped without the state stepping up. Parents of children with autism are making sure lawmakers know these kids can't be helped without the state stepping up.
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

The number of people diagnosed with autism continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Parents of children with autism are making sure lawmakers know these kids can't be helped without the state stepping up.

"No parent wants to hear that your child need services but unfortunately we have to wait till there is enough funding available to get that to him," said Stephanie Brown, a parent of a child with autism.

Especially when that child has been diagnosed with autism.

But for over 300 families is southern Illinois, that's the reality they face.

"The thing about autism is, once that diagnosis is made the work really begins, because what we know is that intensive services early on, lead to better outcomes for those individuals," said Valerie Boyer, the Director with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Carbondale.

Doctors diagnosed Stephanie's son, Mason at 18 months.

"I'm reading this book and saying he needs 40 hours of training and I have to be on a waiting list? Are you kidding me," she said.

Luckily, the center began working with Mason four months later.

But not every child is as lucky, which is why State Senator Dave Luechtefeld and Representative Mike Bost stopped by so they can see firsthand how important the state's resources are.

"Just to know that it was a 20 minute drive for us versus the two and a half hours I would have had to take to St. Louis was wonderful," said Brown.

But the need is growing in southern Illinois at a rate the center can't keep up with. That's why both legislators are encouraging those advocating for the center to speak out.

"The more you make aware to every legislature a bigger part of that will go."

So that kids like Mason can get the help they need.

The center assists children ages one through college age along with their families, caregivers and professionals in the field.

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