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      Autism Study Focuses on Mexican American Children

      Researchers have found that one in every 110 children are Autistic. The number is growing fast, but Rio Grande Valley researchers at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen are hoping to help find the cause of the disorder. Dr. Beatriz Tapia, faculty associate at the RAHC, is leading a pilot study to find out if the Valley's environment contributes to Autism in Mexican American children. Tapia said Mexican American children are usually diagnosed two to three years later than others. "There are two hypothesis. One, could be that we are diagnosing our children later in life, or we could have something in our bodies that protects us, and causes Autism to present itself later. The study is called The U.S. Hispanic Research Center. It will examine families' environment - from the prenatal care of the mother to the child's diet and surrounding. Martha Garcia is a participating mother. Both of her sons, ages 11 and 4, are diagnosed with Autism. She said the first thing that came to mind when she go the news, was to blame herself. She said her son struggles with things like communication, but excels at others like puzzles. Garcia said she's participating in the study to find out what could be the causes of the disorder, and help other parents. Aug. 31is the last day to enroll in the study. Researchers are looking for children with and without the disorder. For more information call 1-855-881-6121.