World Autism Awareness Day

Reported by: Samantha Boatman
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Updated: 4/02/2014 12:47 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & --Today is World Autism Awareness Day and the goal is to bring together the autism community as one voice to urge our those with the resources to listen and take action.

Shannon Thurman knows first hand what it's like to have a child with autism. Her daughter Joy is 14. She says Joy has a struggle talking and is put in a special program at school. She says she works daily to get an upper hand on the disorder.

"When Joy was diagnosed, I had nothing, I didn't know what to do," Thurman said.

Shannon has spent years sharing her story with lawmakers to try and get more funding for not only autism research, but also older children with the disorder. 

In a recent report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 68 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, a difficult but very real statistic, a statistic Shannon believes is really closer to 1 in 50. She looked closer at the research and found those numbers are data from four years ago, and only included information from 11 states.

According to, on average autism costs a family about $60,000 per year. Shannon says this number is very close to what she spends taking care of Joy. She says she had to attend a special communication class in California that cost over $60,000. She says as a result, her entire family has had to make financial sacrifices.

Right now there is not a medical test that can diagnose a child with autism, instead specially trained physicians can make a diagnosis.

Shannon says the resources that have helped her the most are available at

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