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April is autism awareness month, and one Bossier Parish family says autism has been a blessing to them.
Ashley Shows says her seven year-old daughter, Makayla Jones, was diagnosed with autism when she was five.
"Makayla is seven, but it's like she's five,” says Shows. “So, when she would ask me for something to eat or drink, she would point. We had no communication."
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects a child's ability to communicate and form relationships.
"Sometimes they can be happy, and then something can strike them and then they're upset all of a sudden,” says Shows. “And I just don't want people thinking that they're just bad and horrible children, like they're not disciplined, you know?”
The latest research by the CDC in 2010 shows 1 in 68 children show prevalent signs of autism.
During Autism Awareness Month, Shows says she wants others to know that children with autism can succeed.
"The way that I see it, I see that she's going to have a job, I see that she's going to have a family, you know?” says Shows. “Some might not look at that like, no, she's not going to be able to make it. Well, I believe she will, because she's smart and she has the help that she needs, but they're just like you and I."
While there is no specified cure for autism, there are behavioral treatments and medicines that help minimize the effects of the disorder.
Shows and her husband decided not to put Makayla on medicine, because they saw that it changed her personality drastically.
"I love my baby, and she is who she is, and I'm blessed and that's how I work with it,” says Shows. “I just deal with Makayla. I don't want her to be different."
To learn more about autism, click here.