Autism Awareness

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - There are at least 19,000 children and adults living in Mississippi with the disease. That's why members of one organization is hoping to educate people about the disease.

"Nobody really knows the cause of autism," said Lori Forillo.

Forillo is a volunteer with Together Enhancing Autism Awareness in Mississippi, also known as TEAAM.

Like many of the walkers, she is also the parent of an autistic child.

"They are normal kids, but they just have a bit of behavioral problem," said Forillo.

Forillo is joining dozens of others to support families affected by autism.

"My wife and I have just joined up with this group, and we've dealt with our autism about six years by ourselves," said Pete Lee.

Now the Lee's 10-year-old daughter Shelby has a network of volunteers and friends who understand her struggle.

"There's different ends of the scale for autism," said Lee. "Some of the children are not able to function very well. They are not able to communicate. We are blessed with Shelby. She's able to communicate and others."

Signs of the bio-neurological disability usually appear by age three. Autism is diagnosed more often in boys than girls. It's not prevalent in any particular race, region or socio-economic status. And there is no cure for the disease.

However, that's not stopping the South Mississippians in their quest to educate everyone about autism and they're doing it one step at a time. To learn more about TEAAM, click HERE.

For information on resources available in Mississippi, visit the Mississippi State Department of Health's website by clicking HERE.

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