LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- One in 68 kids are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder according to the Center for Disease Control but autism advocates suspect it's closer to 1 in 45 children.
Compare that to 1 in 10,000 in 1975.
The umbrella of autism is wide and there is no one face of the disorder.
In fact what you think you know about autism may not be the case at all. The Metcalf family is an example of that.
An evening in the Metcalf house probably looks a lot like yours.
They like to prep lunches the next day as a family and catch up. But what you may not notice right away is something that can be subtle but life altering.
"Sometimes the invisible disability is difficult because people think she's just acting out. It's not that, the more you know the more you can help your child," said Beth Metcalf.
The Metcalf's 14-year-old daughter Katie was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was about to start kindergarten.
"When they sent us for testing I thought they were just going to give us some suggestions about how to help with schooling so when they came back with the autism diagnosis I was surprised," said Beth.
"I think when folks hear autism you have a certain image in your mind of what autism is and that wasn't the vision we had when you look at Katie. You wouldn't see that. So for us it didn't make sense," said Todd Metcalf.
Katie is social and talkative which sometimes goes against what you may think autism looks like. Autism shows itself differently in different people.
Some of the classic symptoms you've heard for years don't always show up.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is an impairment in communication, social skills, and behavior and can now be extremely mild to severe.
"It has definitely given us a different view of what autism is in the spectrum, it’s truly a spectrum," Todd said.
Beth and Todd Metcalf tell parents if you think something seems different with your child
It's OK. Help is available.
"It's best to know and know as soon as you can. I wish we'd known a little bit earlier," said Todd.
"The resources are there. You just have to ask, you just have access them," said Beth.
That's what the Metcalf's did. And they haven't looked back.
If you have questions about how to get help and where to turn FEAT may be your first call.
FEAT Stands for Families for Effective Autism Treatment.
Their phone number is (502) 596-1258.
They also have their annual 5K walk and run coming up on June 3 at Beckley Creek Park.
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