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CDC: 1 out of 68 showing symptoms of autism, nearly 30% increase in 2 yrsSubmitted: 03/27/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com

RHINELANDER - A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Thursday shows one out of 68 kids in the U.S. symptoms of autism. That is a 30 percent increase from just two years ago.

The same study found one in 88 kids showed symptoms in 2008. But now numbers from 2010 show a significant increase.

Pearl Thompson lives in Rhinelander and has two children (Carmen, 3 & Matthew,5) with autism. She believes these new numbers are beginning to reflect the true number of children with autism.

Thompson says the children cause plenty of challenges, but she believes that actually makes their family stronger.

"I think the challenges that we face just make us better parents and kind of help us prepare our children for challenges they may face in the future," Thompson said.

The disorder makes communication more difficult. But Thompson says that challenges make simple progress, like naming colors, even more meaningful.

"All of a sudden he (Matthew) just started naming colors of the cars and we just cried, I mean we bawled."

Nearly one out of 100 kids in Wisconsin show symptoms of autism, according to the CDC report. The report also indicates that boys have nearly five times the chance, (1 out of 66) of having the disorder compared to girls, (1 out of 330) in Wisconsin.

Thompson says the growing number of cases doesn't mean everyone knows or understands the disorder.

"We still get people who say can't you control how to control your kid and it's not that," Thompson said. "It's not that you know they're crying and throwing a fit because they can't have a toy."

Carlene Braatz has worked as an occupational therapist for the School District of Rhinelander for more than two decades. She's seen more autistic kids in her school over the years. But she worries about after they graduate from high school or college.

"What happens then? What happens if you have a nice skill set of educational skills, but you don't have the social skills?" Braatz said.

Braatz says she's seen many students make it out of the educational system and struggle to find work. She also says the state provides a healthy amount of workshops and other job opportunities for those with autism, but that could change as the numbers increase.

Regardless, Thompson stays positive for when her kids are fully grown up.

"I think with the proper support and everything in the state, I think they'll be OK," Thompson said.

If numbers continue to increase, more families will have to hope like Thompson.

If you would like to learn more about autism, Thompson and another Rhinelander mother are holding an "Autism 101" program at Crescent Elementary School in Rhinelander at 3319 Boyce Dr.

The event starts at 6 p.m. on April 14th.

For more information call 915-799-1736










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CDC Report

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 IN OTHER NEWS
ATV rides for seniorsSubmitted: 06/29/2016

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ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Senior Centers gives seniors the chance to try new things.

Wednesday, thanks to the help of two ATV groups, the seniors were able to go on rides through the forest.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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The Bayfield County sheriff's office says the 14-year-old left her home in the Town of Barnes on the ATV Tuesday. She was reported missing around 10 p.m.

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MADISON - A Sun Prairie man accused of decapitating his mother with a sword last year has been committed to a state mental hospital.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed with a psychiatrist's report Wednesday that 41-year-old Matthew Skalitzky was mentally ill at the time of the killing.

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