"Autism: Answers and Understanding" airs Thursday night on WBTV

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The numbers are startling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate in one in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism by the age of eight.

The prevalence rate is even higher for boys where it's one in 54.

"We now have an epidemic of Autism in the United States," said Dr. Geri Dawson, chief science officer for Autism Speaks. " We need to view it as a public health crisis that needs a national strategy."

Learn more in a WBTV News 3 "On Your Side" special, "Autism: Answers and Understanding."

The program examines the warning signs for Autism and the therapies for those with the disorder.

"If we intervene early and we work on language and we work on social skills and we work on the developmental skills than the long term prognosis is better," said pediatrician Dr. Joseph Stegman.

We will also take you into the labs of UNC-Chapel Hill to hear about the latest groundbreaking Autism research.

"We think we have our finger on when autism is sort of happening," said UNC Researcher Dr. Joe Piven.

"Autism: Answers and Understanding" airs Thursday, October 4th at 7:30 P.M.

The 10th annual Carolinas Walk Now for Autism Speaks is Saturday, October 27th. Learn more about creating a team, joining a team or making a donation by clicking here.