Springfield, Ill. (AP) -- April is National Autism Awareness Month and Illinois Sen. Mattie Hunter is encouraging people to get involved in understanding the disorder and its sweeping impact on those affected and their families.
The Chicago Democrat says about 29,000 children in Illinois are living with autism spectrum disorders. The disorders are chronic, neurologically based development disabilities. Their cause is unknown.
Those with the disorder communicate, interact and behave in nontraditional ways and often have problems with social, emotional and learning skills.
Hunter says the number of children diagnosed annually with autism spectrum disorders have grown and now is one in 110.
Hunter recently sponsored legislation adopted by the Legislature that promotes insurance benefits for those with the disorder.