Autism Awareness Month

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Imagine being told that your child may never be able to talk. That was the reality for a Rockford family when they learned their son had autism.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one out of every 166 people in the U.S. has the developmental disability. April has been designated as Autism Awareness Month.

This family has overcome the obstacles of autism, and now they are hoping to help others do the same. About two and a half years ago the Walter family was hit with the news that their son grant had autism.

"We didn't have any hope that he would talk,” says Grant’s mom Debbie.

But now Grant is talking, playing, reading, activities thought to be near impossible for kids with autism. The developmental disability affects the area of the brain that deals with social interaction and communication.

Grant's mom attributes much of his achievements to the staff at Easter Seals and the costly resources the center could provide for free.

"We've seen kids who've benefited from therapeutic listening devices begin to speak, or a child swinging, you can get language out of them," says family support services director Tera Wenner.

Now the Walters are making sure more families have the same opportunities. The family donated $500 to Easter Seals in memory of Grant's grandfather, Sylvester Jones. The money will be used to purchase more therapeutic equipment.

"Donations make an incredible difference. We rely on donations to keep us going," says Easter Seals CEO James Power, Jr.

"It's also a validation that what we do makes a difference in the life of a family," adds Wenner.

More than 400 families come to Easter Seals every year and find people ready to create solutions and change lives.