The Riley Center provides support for children with Autism

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- According to the CDC, about 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. North Alabama specifically has a larger number of diagnoses. The Riley Behavioral and Educational Center in Huntsville makes a lasting impact in the lives of hundreds of children with Autism. Some people even travel an hour each way just to have their children attend The Riley Center.

The Riley Center individualizes the course work for each student. Educational Director Jamie Cummings says each individual student has different needs. They evaluate each student to make sure that they know exactly what areas the student needs help in.

Austin has been a student at the Riley Center for 10 years now and has made large strides since his first day of school. Austin's mother, Mary Hunter, is beyond grateful for the programs that the Center offers.

With Austin graduating in a few years, his parents are looking into different options but unfortunately options are limited. Mary Hunters says, "Right now waiting list for living communities and placement are any where from what I understand 5 to 15 to 20 years."

The number of autism diagnosis is alarming, but the fact to there are not many options for students after they graduated is even more alarming. Austin's parents plan to take care of him as long as they can, but after they are gone they hope, Austin can use the skills he learns at the Riley Center to make his way through life.

April is Autism Awareness month and there are plenty of ways that you can help support autism locally here in Huntsville. On April 16 The Riley Center is hosting its largest fundraiser of the year. It is call the "Hope for Autism Gala." The event last from 6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. and there will be a silent auction along with other fun activities. For tickets you can call the Riley Center at (256)-882-2457.

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