How do you give a child struggling with autism more stability? Call in the grandparents.

Who better than family to make sure you and your child with autism are getting every service available?

In 2009, the CDC estimated that 1 in 110 children in the U.S. had autism spectrum disorders.

That was an increase from 1 in 150 just two years prior, and the number keeps increasing. But for families of children with autism, the reality is much more nuanced than those numbers can portray.

Parents of kids with autism tend to struggle with things that many of us cannot understand. They have less time to socialize and little time to do research on services available to their kids. Those services can be quite expensive, too. And sadly, some parents may even find themselves shunned by family and friends who don't quite understand autism. But of course, these parents are also blessed with unique and vibrant children — as with most of parenting, the experience is a mixed bag.

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Flashing lights, screeching noises, disorienting colors.

That is what 10-year-old Alex Marshall saw, heard, and felt — not while playing an intense video game or watching an action flick on the big screen, but while standing in the middle of a shopping center with his mom. 

Many people on the autism spectrum — people like Alex — have varying issues with sensory input. That is, they may be over- or under-sensitive to sights, sounds, and other stimuli around them. An everyday experience like walking down an aisle in the mall can be overwhelming. 

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Natasha Rossi believed she had the perfect life.

She had two awesome kids — two and a half-year-old identical twins — and the love and support of her boyfriend, Desi. Life, she thought, could only get better.

All photos via Upworthy/Walgreens.

Then, in January 2019, she was hit with some of the hardest news that anyone can hear.

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