BOSTON (CBS) – Monday is World Autism Awareness Day, and one of the country’s leading experts on the disorder joined WBZ-TV on Thursday night to discuss the latest research into the causes and promising treatments.

Dr. Lauren Solotar is president and CEO of the May Institute in Massachusetts, a world-renowned center that provides services to children and adults on the autism spectrum.

The U.S. State Department recently selected the May Institute to provide training to autism providers in the Middle East, and a delegation from China just last week visited the organization’s offices in Randolph to learn from their staff.

(Photo: The May Institute)

Solotar told WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben and Liam Martin at 8 p.m. on myTV38 that much of the decades-long rise in autism rates is because of earlier intervention and better diagnosis.

“I think people are more aware of autism, so they are bringing their kids to physicians; they’re looking for signs and symptoms,” Solotar said. “The diagnostic category for autism spectrum disorder has gotten broader, and so more kids are falling into the category.”

She also detailed during the interview some of the early warning signs that parents should be aware of, and said outcomes have improved dramatically over the last few decades.

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