SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – April is Autism Awareness month. The Centers for Disease Control says about one in 68 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, and with the growing population, advocates say it's important to be educated.
The first Autism Symposium will be hosted for the community by Surfside Christian Church at 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Angel Thompson has a 16-year-old son who's on the spectrum and put this event together.
She said now with autism numbers growing every year, it's important to stay educated and be aware of autism. She said she wanted to reach out to the community to have a better understanding of the diagnosis.
Thompson invited special speakers from Champion Autism Network or CAN, the Fidelis Foundation and Willowglen Academy to the event because she thinks the community needs to know the resources available for people who have autism and grow as adults.
She also said Surfside Christian Church is a family church where anyone is welcome, regardless of their special needs.
"I'm hoping that they take away that information about autism. I mean it's really out there. But also, being able to realize there's more out there for our kids. Hopefully that we need more for our kids but also our kids are more than a diagnosis. My son's artwork is going to be displayed. He does photography, he's more than just that diagnosis… and sometimes people have the tendency to look at someone with autism and shy away from them and think they are prickly, but they are not, they are individuals," said Thompson.