NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Increasingly, more adults are realizing they too fall on the spectrum.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore looks into how an actor’s public admission is reigniting the conversation around autism.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Unveils Extreme Weather Plan To Avoid Death And Destruction Of Ida During Future Storms
“Prison Break” actor Wentworth Miller just added another title to his biography – autistic.
Miller announced his adult diagnosis Tuesday on Instagram saying, “Autism is central to who I am. I wouldn’t change it.”
According to the CDC, roughly 5.4 million adults (roughly 2.2% of the total population) have autism.
“How common is it for someone to be diagnosed as an adult as being on the spectrum?” Moore asked Dr. Kerry Magro, an author and autism advocate.
“It’s becoming more frequent every, single day,” Dr. Magro said.
At two and two-and-a-half years old, Magro was completely nonverbal. At 11, his parents told him he had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“I started understanding more about my quirks and my strengths and my challenges that accompany my autism diagnosis,” he said.
Dr. Magro is now also an accomplished public speaker.READ MORE: New York City's Vaccine Mandate Could Impact Nets Season, As Irving Reportedly Not Getting Shot
“To get the diagnosis as an adult, it’s almost a gift,” said Gary Weitzen, who runs POAC, one of the country’s largest autism parent groups.
Weitzen’s 27-year-old son Chris is also on the spectrum.
“It’s not like a 30-year-old can get the diagnosis and qualify for government services, but can they still get help and just fill in the pieces.”
Weitzen said celebrities like Miller are key to changing the outlook for adults on the autism spectrum.
“It doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the pinnacle of success,” he said.
“What kind of treatments are available when someone is diagnosed later in life?” Moore asked.
“Unfortunately, today there’s not a lot. I hear from so many families who are put on a waitlist looking for support services,” Dr. Magro said.
Magro has words of wisdom for adults on the spectrum and urges those who think they might be to get diagnosed as soon as possible.
“The most important thing to realize is, you are not alone,” he said.MORE NEWS: Some Health Care Workers Still Defiant As New York State Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning everyone diagnosed will have different symptoms that vary in intensity.