A staggering new statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a 30% jump in children with autism.
1 in every 68 kids has the developmental disorder.
Autism diagnoses are abstract; many of us may think the higher rates are due to different diagnosing strategies.
That's certainly part of it, but doesn't paint the whole picture.
The truth is that more kids are showing these symptoms, and it's creating an incredible demand on educators.
One they're doing their best to keep up with.
"We don't know why the numbers have grown so tremendously," said Angie Leonard, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center.
In 2002, the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center had two students. Now, there are 65 and a waiting list 30 people long.
"We continue to see that trend that higher numbers of autism increase our wait list by quite a bit," Leonard said.
The Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center, which has kids of all ages, at all different parts of the autism spectrum, and they receive different kinds of instruction.
Neither Leonard, nor the doctors studying autism can figure out exactly what's causing it beyond genetics.
"We are seeing more kids that actually show the signs and symptoms of autism and it's not just better diagnosing," Leonard said.
"Was based on numbers from 2010 so in all actuality, I feel those numbers could be even more intense than 1 in 68," said Jennifer O'Berry-Ham.
Due to more diagnoses, Roanoke County Schools has O'Berry-Ham, a full-time staff member dedicated solely to autism education.
O'Berry-Ham says even though we can't pinpoint its cause, awareness has skyrocketed too.
"The diagnostic criteria, parents are becoming more educated and they're getting diagnosis earlier so that more early intervention services can be put in place," O'Berry-Ham said.
Kids can be diagnosed as early as age two and most are diagnosed by age four.
Experts say early intervention and diagnosis are the most critical things parents can do for kids.
The spectrum of autism includes many diagnoses and many symptoms, "Some red flags could be lack of eye contact. Not responding to your name, obsessing on objects too much, not playing with toys appropriately," Leonard said.