Local families feel impact of autism

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and a time Western Massachusetts families with autistic children help others. Southwick native Marty Baillargeon cares for her 11-year-old autistic grandson Nathan. He was diagnosed with autism five years ago.

Nathan attends the Powder Mill School in Southwick and Marty told 22News that Baystate Medical Center’s professionals help take care of him, but she knows what her grandson needs more time from her.

“I work full time,” she explained. “I feel I can’t spend a lot of time with him. He’s involved with Special Olympics on weekends, we go to church on Sundays together, but it’s difficult when you take care of a household and work.

In 2004, 1 in 125 children were diagnosed with the disorder. Today, that number is almost twice as high: 1 in 68.

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