Autism has become epidemic in the US and the rest of the world as well. One in 150 children in the United States has been diagnosed with this condition. In Wisconsin alone, a new survey reports that approximately 5 out of every 1,000 Wisconsin children born in 1994 display symptoms of autism. The alarming numbers continue to climb. Researchers have identified the gene that makes children susceptible to this condition, but what can parents do to help their autistic children communicate? A new aid has been discovered: a parrot.

Emma Morton reports in the British newspaper the Sun that Dylan Hargreaves, a four-year-old autistic boy who could not speak, has learned his first words, with the help of his pet parrot Barney. He is now saying simple, one-syllable words and is expected to graduate to multi-syllable words in the near future.

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