Finding Hope after an Autism Diagnosis

When Isela Santillan saw her two-year-old son, Alexis, use tantrums and cries to ask for food, she felt something was different. Her family would say he was huraño or spoiled and that's why he acted like that. But it was more than that. "That's when I decided to go to the doctor and tell him my concerns," she says.

Alexis was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. About one in 88 children in the US have autism, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

At first, Isela was shaken up. The doctor didn't offer any advice or provided her information about therapy. But she was reinforced by her abuelita. "My grandma came over and basically she said, ‘Your son is healthy, your son runs, he's not in a bed — autism can be worked out,'" she says.

Alexis is now seven years old. Isela says his behavior and his speech have improved after a few years in therapy.