OKLAHOMA CITY - It’s World Autism Awareness Day and many people are recognizing the developmental disability that affects the brain’s functions.
Experts say the first signs of Autism usually appear before a child is just three-years-old.
Some patients with Autism have a tough time in busy places like at Smile Galaxy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.
The loud noises and bright lights can feel overwhelming and staff have to be patient to help kids like Alex Garza, feel comfortable.
Alex is eight-years-old. He was diagnosed with Autism four years ago.
"He had some speech delays, a lot of sensitivity to different sounds," said Candice Garza.
Sounds like the vacuum, applause or drills at the dentist can frighten Alex.
"He was very scared and traumatized by the whole environment," said Dr. Brian Molloy.
"It kind of hurts my ears," said Alex.
With nearly eight months of interaction with staff and routine, Alex's fears are subsiding.
"He now will climb up in the chair, let me look in his mouth. He's still hesitant but today, he's a completely different child," said Dr. Molloy.
Studies show Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the U.S., affecting 1 in 68 children.
Alex's parents said unfortunately with the label of Autism, comes stigma, but recommend parents not be afraid.
"Labels tell us what's inside and we need to know what's inside of Alex to know where he's going to excel and where he's going to have some challenges," said Garza.
Instead, find ways to improve social skills and behavioral issues to live life to the fullest.
There is no medical detection or cure for Autism.
A lot of folks are lighting up blue, recognizing Autism Awareness Day like the Governor’s Mansion, the SkyDance Bridge and the Pops Bottle.
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