“In my opinion its an epidemic,” said Irene Bayers. Bayers is talking about autism. Her 16-year old daughter Lindsey is on the autism spectrum. “Shes unable to communicate verbally, just through gestures, she has some verbal communication but it’s very limited. She can’t cook for herself and she has no awareness of safety whatsoever,” said Bayers. On Saturday State Senator Mike Nozzolio sponsored a public forum in Webster to talk about one of the most common neurobiological disorders effecting children today. It affects one in every 150 children. “The purpose of this forum is to hear directly from parents to hear the kinds of issues that they’re confronted with each and everyday as their child develops form school hood into adulthood. We need to do all we can as a state to meet those challenges and help parents help their children become productive members of society,” said Nozzolio. One of the biggest challenges facing parents is diagnosis and treatment. “One of the things we did hear today was sort of the variability of children on the spectrum but also based on age as well as developmental level and that makes it very challenging for the medical and educational community to be able to effectively identify what works and for whom,” Dr. Caroline Magyar. Many who attended the meeting talked about the challenges their children face in school. They day many school don’t understand how to deal with an autistic child. “If I look at my districts statistics that classification has quadrupled over time so its exploded quickly,” said Webster Schools Superintendent Adele Bovard. “We really need to understand it and to provide relevant services the first thing you need to do is understand and train staff on the behaviors that they’re seeing in front of them,” said Bovard. Bayer hopes the forum will raise awareness about the Autism Spectrum and encourage lawmakers to give families the support they need deal with a condition thats threatening to impact entire generation. “I think they need to look forward because theres going to be many kids graduating from school and they’re going to need some kind of support as an adult and that’s what we need to look forward and ahead for,” added Bayer.