GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The latest research shows that 1 in 59 children are now affected by autism.
While there is a greater awareness of the developmental disorder, parents of children with autism feel there is still a problem with acceptance.
"That is all these kids want. That is all the families want; is to be accepted when they go out in public," said Kimberly Brown, the mother of a 9-year-old boy with autism.
The issue got more attention this week after the Erie County District Attorney announced that a former bus aide for the WNY Bus Co. pleaded guilty to hitting a child with autism, using the child's shoe, in December 2018.
Anthony Lanier, 34, was fired by the bus company and now faces sentencing in July on the charge of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent Person.
"It is not as easy as telling them "No," added Kimberly Brown, "They might not get the reasoning and the steps behind it."
Raising a child with autism can be an exhausting endeavor as behavior can be very unpredictable - making it hard to go into public places like a grocery store.
"At one point, he took off his shoe and threw it at the cashiers," explained Brown, who said it was a huge milestone when she could take her son to the store without an behavior issue.
Her son is part of programs at the Summit Center in Getzville.
Those have helped her son learn to use simple sentences, ride a bike, and begin the process of learning how to print his name using the letter "M."
"If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have told you that he wouldn't even be talking," added the East Amherst mother.
In the attached clip, 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly hears more from Kimberly Brown about the challenges of having a son with autism.
20th Summit Autism Walk this weekend.
Kimberly Brown's son receives treatment at the Summit Center in Getzville where she is working to help organize its annual autism walk.
The walk hopes to raise $300,000 to cover funding gaps for programs and services offered to more than 2,300 children and adults each year through the Summit Center.
Pre-walk festivities begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday April 27, 2019.
It takes place at 150 Stahl Road, Getzville.
Many families will be taking part but it is hoped others will consider making a financial donation to help the fund-raising effort.