SoCal officials raise awareness for the autism community | #specialneeds | #kids

Autism prevalence is rising in the U.S., with 1 of 54 children being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

In this week’s “In Focus SoCal,” host Tanya McRae sits down with Tracey MacDonald, executive director for Autism Speaks. MacDonald shares her son’s experience with autism, the racial disparities in getting a diagnosis and treatment, and hopes for the future.

“I’m very excited that Autism Speaks is really working on employment and this transition to adulthood,” MacDonald said. “So I think that is such a great opportunity to let employers know these are remarkable individuals.”

Recent data from the CDC shows that prevalence rates are the same for Black and white children and that significant progress has been made toward the number of children receiving developmental screening by age 3.

City of Industry Mayor Cory Moss discusses her son’s diagnosis journey and the challenges that she and her family have faced to strengthen her son’s language development. Moss has been a champion for the autism community, bringing mental health and autism training for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Industry Station.

“All of the deputies who took the training kept coming to us and telling us how great it was, how they didn’t know what they didn’t know, and how grateful they were to have that information now,” Moss said. “We’ve seen a lot of success with it.”

The Special Needs Network is one of many organizations helping bring resources and mentorship to families with children living with ASD. McRae met with a woman who talks about her challenging experience in getting her daughter diagnosed 20 years ago. Her daughter was finally diagnosed and was able to find a community with the Special Needs Network.

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