Living With Autism: An Orchard Park Family Shares Their Story

April 26, 2012 Updated Apr 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM EDT

By WKBW News

April 26, 2012 Updated Apr 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM EDT

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ( WKBW ) We hear a lot about autism. We've just learned that cases are on the rise, but how much do we really know about this disorder? We go inside an Orchard Park home where a family is coping with autism, times two.

Playtime can be a challenging time for the Swanson family of Orchard Park. Their two sons are autistic. Five year old Ryan is severely affected. His three year old brother Dylan has a milder form of the disorder.

Jamie Swanson says the only way to get her sons to play is if she shows them how, and play is so important for their development. It helps them learn, but the struggle can be heart-wrenching.

Jamie says Ryan was a happy little boy, smiling and laughing when he suddenly changed. He started speech and occupational therapy, but wasn't making any progress. At 18 months, the devastating diagnosis.

His brother was born soon after, and it didn't take long for the Swansons to realize he was different, too, so they acted quickly, knowing early intervention is the key to improving autism symptoms.

The latest figures show one in 88 children are diagnosed with some form of autism. A 78% jump since 2002, but the Swansons say, they still feel alone.

If you'd like to help Ryan and Dylan get the best treatment possible for this disorder, the family is holding a Step'n up 4 Swanson's Fundraiser, Sunday, May 20th at the Seneca Hose Fire Hall in West Seneca, from 2pm-7pm. All the money raised at the event will be used to send the boys to a world-renowned Brain Camp in Idaho.

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