April is Autism Awareness Month in the U.S. and people all over the country are taking the time to do just that.
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability that can cause severe social, communication and behavioral disruptions.
”Many times autism is diagnosed in children but it’s a lifelong developmental problem,” said Amy Mersiovsky, Director of the Department of Nursing at Texas A&M University Central Texas.
A large number of adults struggle with mild to severe autism and some require constant care.
That is something single father Marty Mendoza and his adult son Marty Junior know all too well.
”I’ve been his mom and dad for over 30-years. He’s 34 now. I’ve had him since he was two and I have been a single parent all of his life.” said Marty Mendoza, father of Marty Jr.
Marty Jr. was diagnosed with severe non-verbal autism at an early age which is something medical professionals say was crucial to his life.
”The earlier that autism is diagnosed, the earlier that therapies and treatments can be started.” said Mersiovsky.
Marty has taken his son’s love of cars and transformed that and a custom El Comino into a way to raise autism awareness.
”We take the care and we represent autism awareness. Talk to people about autism awareness and get them more involved and more of an understanding about autism because, when your hear autism, there are still so many levels that people don’t know about.” said Mendoza.
Marty spends everyday taking care of his son and doing what he can for both of them to make the most out of life.
Marty says he wouldn’t be the man he is today if it weren’t for Marty Jr.
”He’s changed my world completely. I am devoted to his passion and I'm devoted to his journey in life, and I will always be his voice since he’s non-verbal,” said Mendoza.
A study by the CDC in 2016, found that at least 1 in 54 children at least 8-years-old have been diagnosed with autism.