It's been called a national health threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's not childhood obesity or leukemia. In fact, this mysterious disease affects more children than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.
Autism is a neurological disorder that strikes as many as 1 in every 150 children and affects millions of families worldwide. Every day, 67 children in America are diagnosed with this disease. That's one new case every 20 minutes.
According to the CDC, autism is one of a group of disorders known as "autism spectrum disorders." Children with autism may have trouble interacting socially and communicating and may exhibit unusual behaviors. The severity of the disease varies from child to child. Some attend public school and are considered "high-functioning," while others go their entire lives without ever saying a word.
Currently, there is no known cause and no known cure. But, if you're living with autism, there is no mystery about how difficult and devastating it can be. In the documentary Autism Every Day, eight families living with autism speak out about their struggles.
"This is the national health crisis of our time," says Katie, the mother of an autistic son. "This is bigger than AIDS. This is bigger than breast cancer, and almost no attention seems to be paid to it."