Meet Mikey: understanding how children with autism see the world

MILWAUKEE-- April is Autism Awareness month, and a local mother-daughter team is giving the world insight into how children with autism see the world.

\"We've seen so many families impacted by autism, children on the autism spectrum are bright, they're beautiful, they have tremendous strengths, they have a lot to offer to classrooms, teachers, other children,\" said Judy Cohen, a retired special education teacher in Milwaukee. 

Cohen and her daughter, Mindee Pinto, an early childhood special education teacher, wrote \"Mikey: A Day at School Through the Eyes of Child with Autism.\"

\"Any person that you come in contact with probably knows somebody on the spectrum,\" said Pinto.

One in 68 children have some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Mark Fairbanks is the book's illustrator, his son, tested on the spectrum at an early age.

'Now he's at the point where you know, that goal of him going to college, which we're told by a neurologist don't plan on it, is going to be a reality, which is really rewarding,\" said Fairbanks.

You might notice, Mikey looks a lot like Fairbanks' son.

\"He recognized himself right away, he especially liked the fact that I gave him a t-shirt with a train on it,\" said Fairbanks.

As families across the country mark Autism Awareness Month, Fairbanks says we need more than awareness to help children like Mikey once they finish school.

\"We have to move from awareness, I think, into acceptance in figuring out pathways for success,\" said Fairbanks.

And it starts with teachers and a support system who understands how the autistic mind works.

\"When a child has such strengths, let's build on those strengths,\" said Cohen.

The book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's websites.  Cohen and Pinto are already working on another book about Mikey and his family.

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