Oak Hill, W.V. (WVNS) – According to the CDC, one in every 44 children in the U.S. Is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

April is Autism Awareness Month and one local special education teacher said lots of folks she runs into don’t fully understand what autism is and how it affects people.

She said many people make the mistake of thinking people on the autism spectrum have trouble learning, but in reality, many people with autism are extremely intelligent, the disorder just makes it harder for them to communicate and socialize.

“Most importantly, and it’s one of the things I really want to emphasize, is it’s social. A lot of people have a misconception. They think that when they hear “Autism” that the child has some time of mental impairment. That is not the case,” Oak Hill High School Autism Teacher Tina Lilly said. “It may be that they’re unable to speak to you and say the things they want, and you have to help them and empower them to be able to provide that speech.”

 A few weeks ago one student in Ms. Lilly’s autism class represented Oak Hill High at a statewide computer repair competition. He was the only student on the spectrum to participate in the competition. And Lilly said one of the proudest moments of her career was watching her student keep his composure and complete the task, even when many other students got frustrated with the assignment and gave up.

“He was one of the few who actually completed the task that they were given, even though he had never really worked on that task. Four children got up and walked out of that. They were not diagnosed with autism. He was. He stayed through it, he maintained his behavior, and I was very proud of him,” Lilly told 59News. “He won in my heart completely.”

And Lilly said the composure her student showed just reminded her of something she’d known all along.

“There’s nothing my students can’t do,” said Lilly. “Nothing.”