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Dear Editor,

According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control report it is estimated that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life, and impacts an individual’s ability to communicate and interact with others.  
According to the April 2008 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, each individual with autism accrues about $3.2 million in costs to society over his or her lifetime, with lost productivity and adult care being the most expensive components.  
Parent-to-parent support is very important in raising a child diagnosed with autism.  
There is an autism parent support group for families affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Washington County.  
This group is open for attendance by parents and caregivers of children and adults with ASD.  
The purpose of this group is to help parents cope with the issues faced in raising children diagnosed with ASD.  
Our meetings are held each month and feature speakers and discussion to provide information and support to assist parents as they care for their child with special needs.  
Those interested in joining Washington County Autism Group of Support (WAGS) can contact Katie Essex at 336-0059 or kentuckylady@bellsouth.net for more information.  
Besides myself, I personally know of at least 10 other parents that have children here in Washington County affected by ASD.  
I am sure there are more that I do not know.  I find that a staggering number for our small community.  
We are trying to bring awareness of autism to the community on Saturday, April 28 from 1-4 at River of Life Church.  
WAGS will be hosting its 3rd annual autism awareness fair and walk.  Everyone in the community is invited to attend.  
There will be games for kids, a silent auction, and information about autism.
Supports for individuals with autism are available on a statewide level through the Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC).  
The mission of the KATC is to strengthen our state’s systems of support for persons affected by autism by bridging research to practice and by providing training and resources to families and professionals.  
KATC is committed to improving the quality of life for those affected by ASD.  
For more information about autism, including resources available in Kentucky, visit https://louisville.edu/education/kyautismtraining/.

Katie Essex