During April, Chernoff Newman is joining the Autism Academy of South Carolina and the Columbia Chamber’s 2016 Leadership Columbia class to Light It Up Blue in honor of Autism Awareness Month. Recently, Chernoff employees in Columbia wore blue to increase awareness.

As part of the Columbia Chamber’s 2016 Leadership Columbia Class, I was happy to lead my coworkers to Light It Up Blue at Chernoff Newman.

Autism affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S. and 1 in 42 boys. The prevalence of autism is increasing rapidly, making it the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. Having a child with autism costs a family an average of $60,000 per year, and there is no medical detection or cure for autism. The importance of autism awareness comes from the fact that the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by two-thirds with early diagnosis and intervention, and studies show that approximately half of children with autism who receive intensive therapy by trained and well supervised therapists become indistinguishable from their peers.

The Autism Academy of South Carolina was established in 2010 by a group of concerned parents of children with autism and youth development professionals as a response to the rapidly growing need in the Midlands for resources and support for families of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. AASC provides one-on-one and small group Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, social skill groups, summer camps and free parent training workshops.