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Local schools work to accommodate more students with autism - KOAM TV 7

Local schools work to accommodate more students with autism

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While searching for answers, two mothers in Pittsburg found support just steps away.
Julia Younger and Julie Laverack work together in the same office and share stories about their son who both are autistic.

"Dan's just amazing he's funny and most people that meet him fall in love with him," said Daniel's mother, Julia Younger.

"Lincoln's curious. He's knowledgeable and he loves to explore things," said Lincoln's mother Julie Laverack.

Lincoln and Daniel are students at George Nettles Elementary School in Pittsburg, and learn inside a classroom with non-autistic children.
At the age of three Lincoln was diagnosed with autism, Daniel was four.

"Lincoln wasn't making the developmental milestones that his peers were, he wasn't sitting up on time or speaking on time," said Laverack.

"Dan didn't talk until after he was three years old. That was the first clue to me," said Younger.

The day-to-day challenges continue but both mothers agree it could be worse.

According to the Center for Disease Control Control, about 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. A number that could impact school districts with scarce resources.

"The diagnosis has been increasing. Some of that's just natural due to population increases, and some of that's because of better diagnosing," said Special Education Teacher Shirley Williams.

Williams says early detection is critical.

"Depending on the severity of the autism, we can work on those things earlier on which make them successful later," said Williams.

Williams also says her goal is for each child to be successful despite their diagnoses.

A goal shared by two mothers.

"I just want him to go to college and do what he wants to do," said Younger.

"He's different and every kid is different so our hope is for him to be happy," said Laverack.

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