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Published May 20, 2012, 06:50 PM

Lawmakers push to help parents who have a child with special needs

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) -- Learning your child has special needs can be stressful, and emotional for parents, especially if they don't know where to go for help. Some parents are getting the attention of state lawmakers who are pushing for parents to have easier access to services.

By: Teri Finneman, Forum Communications, WDAY

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) -- Learning your child has special needs can be stressful, and emotional for parents -- especially if they don't know where to go for help. Some parents are getting the attention of state lawmakers who are pushing for parents to have easier access to services.

Like any 4-year-old, Alexander Cherney loves to play outside.

"Watch, Watch, Watch! Wait! Weee!"

But inside, his playroom is more than a typical space to play make-believe.

"It kind of keeps it all in his own little world, so he can just--it helps him function."

At 2 ½, Alexander was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a diagnosis that shocked his parents.

Toby Cherney/Mother: "It was pretty hard. You just want your child to be normal and you want to know he's going to grow up and be, you know, be able to do things in life and knowing that he probably wasn't going to be able to do some things was very hard."

Legislators are studying how to help families like the Cherney's. They're seeking ideas on how to improve autism spectrum disorder services in North Dakota.

Rep. Al Wieland/West Fargo: "Some people have found some services available and some people haven't. So, we're trying to determine what it is that we may be able to do to assist in helping them find the services that they need."

Toby Cherney says it needs to be easier for families to find and get help for their kids.

Toby Cherney: "We constantly have to fight, battle, appeal just to get any kind of equipment or environmental modifications for him. It's just a constant battle."

And with one in every 88 children in the nation having an autism spectrum disorder, it's a battle more parents are facing.

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