Walk Now for Autism Speaks featured Joel Solomon, singer dealing with Asperger Syndrome

Joel Solomon will tell you it took a lot of practice.

Singing came easy for him however, growing Solomon wasn’t always comfortable in front of a crowd.

He was diagnosed with Asperger’s, an autism spectrum disorder, when he was eight years old.

"It definitely makes...it makes me shy,” said Solomon. "Sometimes I don't feel like I fit in, like I'm not socially correct, I suppose."

The Walk for Autism Speaks was held in downtown West Palm Beach Sunday.

The event raises money for autism research and early screenings.

"If you don't know someone with autism, you will in your lifetime,” said Ann Gibbons with Autism Speaks.

For many families, the walk is about raising awareness. Jasmine Baxter’s son was diagnosed with autism at just 18 months old.

"It's nice to be out here where they can be themselves,” said Baxter.

She hopes this fundraiser will help others be more understanding of those on the autism spectrum.

"When you see a child like this in public, don't stop and stare, realize we're trying the hardest we can,” said Baxter. 

According to Autism Speaks, 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with autism and the numbers seem to be increasing. 

We are told by our scientists that there is some genetic predisposition also some prenatal environmental factors that are contributing to the rise in diagnosis,” said Gibbons.

Today, Solomon is a full-time college student and music teacher.

He says he no longer fears being in front of a crowd.

It's awesome, it gives me hope, there’s hope,” said Baxter.

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