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Family creates billboard to raise awareness about autism

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 03 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 04 2013 08:50:39 PM CDT

Family creates billboard to raise awareness about autism

EASTON, Pa. -

Three-year-old Peyton Forsythe of Easton looks like most toddlers.

"Peyton is very happy," smiled dad Alphonse Forsythe. "He will do any and everything."

The blue eyed boy even acts like most three year olds. But Peyton's not like most kids his age.

"You won't see that unless you're with him all the time," explained Alphonse.

Almost a year ago Peyton was diagnosed with autism.

"He's higher functioning," shared Denise Forsythe. "He will be able to be independent sometime, so that was good to hear."

For the family, the journey since then has been met with significant strides towards Peyton communicating, but they also became aware of how much people don't know about autism. So they're making a statement in a big way. A billboard along route 57 in Lopatcong Township, New Jersey went up Wednesday. Folks driving by will see Peyton's smiling face for the rest of the month, which happens to be autism awareness month.

"I definitely think that people just don't know enough about autism," added Denise.

According to the CDC one in every 88 American children is on the autism spectrum, and studies show its about 4 to 5 times more common among boys than girls. The Forsythe's just want people to be educated. The advocacy group Autism Speaks is sponsoring the billboard, but the Forsythe's are paying for it. They're forking over $450 for 28 days. They say it's worth it to make one person know more about what Peyton and their family is going through.

"I hope that people understand how serious it is," said Denise choking back tear. "Because there's a lot of families that are affected by this."