ST. LOUIS — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calls autism the fastest growing developmental disability with a more than 150 percent increase in diagnosis since 2000 when autism was reported in one out 150 children.

Today, one out of 59 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

The numbers will draw thousands to the annual St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks Walk at 10 a.m. on Saturday October 13 in Forest Park.

The 16th annual St. Louis walk is expected to draw 10,000 participants to raise awareness of autism and fund research and programs. Over the years, the walk has raised more than $10 million.

Autism Speaks Walk is the world’s largest fundraising event to enhance the lives of people with autism today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow. The Autism Speaks Walk is powered by the love of parents, grandparents, children, siblings, friends, relatives, and support providers for the special people in their lives living with autism. Funds raised help fuel innovative research and make connections to critical lifelong supports and services.

The walk will feature family fun activities and a free resource fair with more than 20 service providers from the autism community. Learn more at or call (314) 989-1003.

Lisa and Joe Litvag shared their journey with 5 On Your Side to help spread awareness. Their son, Jake was diagnosed with Autism when he was five-years-old. His loving brother, Jordan, is excited for the walk. He says he appreciates having such an understanding family. Lisa and Christina Coleman became great friends as they geared up for this year's walk.

5 On Your Side is a proud sponsor of the St. Louis Autism Speaks Walk. Christina Coleman will emcee the walk. She will be accompanied by her family, friend, co-workers and her four-year-old son, Max, who has autism. If you would like to donate or join Team Max, click here.