CHICAGO (CBS) — This Saturday thousands of people, including loving parents and friends, will gather at Soldier Field in support of people with autism.

The goal of the Chicago Autism Speaks Walk is to raise money and enhance the lives of people living on the spectrum and fund autism research.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot joined Cheva Ramos and her son Romulus to talk about the importance of next weekend’s walk and how the numbers of those diagnosed with autism are growing.

“The numbers are astounding,” said Cheva. “Back when Romulus was diagnosed, it was one in 110. The CDC just released numbers saying it’s now one in 59. They’re able to diagnose better and notice some of the symptoms.”

“It’s fairly normal for the most part,” said Romulus, who will be participating in the walk. “Sometimes I go to special ed classes in my school to learn how to communicate better.”

Cheva Ramos said now more than ever before, there are more tools and more information available for people who are just learning about an autism diagnosis.

“When Romulus was diagnosed I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “Thank god I came across Autism Speaks. For those people who have just received a diagnosis, I really suggest that you visit AutismSpeaks.org. There’s lots of resources out there and you’re not alone.”

She added that the walk is much more than a place where people are helping to raise money.

“When you first get the diagnosis, you feel isolated. But at the Autism Speaks event, we just felt like we belonged. We are part of a big family,” she said.

The Autism Speaks Walk Chicago event takes place Saturday May 12 at Soldier Field. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.

Click here for more information on next Saturday’s walk.

If you can’t make it to the walk but want more information, there are specially trained educators to connect those on the autism spectrum, their families and caregivers to provide information, tools and resources.

In English, the number is 1-888-288-4762.

In Spanish, it’s 1-888-772-9050.

You can also send an email to familyservices@autismspeaks.org  and visit the Autism Speaks website.

 

 

 

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