Hundreds of western Massachusetts parents of children with autism gathered at the Sheraton Hotel in Springfield Tuesday.
They observed April as Autism Awareness Month. The group called Autism Connections, made up of the parents of autistic children, provided information to help these families through their journey.
These parents told 22News, they’re grateful for the growing amount of knowledge that’s become available in the past few years.
“Twenty-years-ago, all I knew was the movie ‘Rainman,’ and that’s very limited,” said Ruth Banta, a parent. “Now people can find on the Internet, books, schools; there’s a lot more knowledge but there’s still an individual journey,” Banta said.
Veronica Taylor told 22News, “A strong support network is always helpful for parents, especially if it’s really important to have that support.”
It’s estimated that in Massachusetts, 16,000 children under the age of 18 are diagnosed with autism each year.