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      MUSC to "light it blue" for autism

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- In recognition of National Autism Awareness Day, MUSC will join hundreds of locations nationwide by "lighting it blue."

      The hospital's north tower will be bathed in{}a royal blue light starting at nightfall Monday. This will be just one of many locations across the city, state, country and worldwide to bring awareness to autism. Locally, Patriots Point will also be participating by lighting up the USS Yorktown.

      A new Centers for Disease Control report released last week shows that autism cases are on the rise. One in 88 children have been found to have{}the disorder. That's a 78% increase over ten years.

      The numbers are so alarming that experts are venturing to label it as an epidemic.

      "Certainly, we know that early diagnoses has caused some increase, increases in services, much higher awareness of the disorders," according to Dr. Jane Charles. Charles is the pre-eminent autism resource in South Carolina.

      Charles adds that the report's findings are far reaching in that it can enable states to think more about funding programs geared towards those who suffer from autism.

      "It tells the states how much they need to put away for things like behavior intervention, for housing, for people with special needs," she said.

      As far as education is concerned, Charles notes that the report will also "tell the schools how much they need to put away and plan for special education classrooms for kids with autism."

      You can read more of the national CDC report on autism at www.cdc.gov.

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