April is Autism Awareness Month and Nick Lachey has recently revealed a personal reason for supporting autism awareness.
The TV personality and former lead singer of 98 Degrees opened up to CBS News about his 19-year-old brother Zac who has been diagnosed with autism.
Zac was diagnosed with autism when he was seven-years-old, but Lachey waited until now to talk about it because he wanted to make sure Zac would be okay with it. Lachey "wanted him to be comfortable with that happening."
When Lachey and his brother Drew left home in the late 90s to start 98 Degrees, their mom adopted Zac and another child. Lachey said his mother knew from an early age that Zac wasn't learning in "the typical way." The family first thought Zac had attention deficit disorder (ADD), but then doctors diagnosed him with a form of autism, Asperger syndrome, at age seven.
"He's referred to as high-functioning autistic. So he's verbal and able to go to a fairly typical school. He's socially different than what we perceive as normal for kids. He gets anxious and he's very focused. He hones in one on thing and he can't be taken out of it...He's a good kid, a sweet kid...He just learns differently than most people and reacts to situations differently," said Lachey.
Because autism hits so close to home for Lachey, he launched the fifth Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction to help raise awareness for autism. Lachey is one of 100 celebrities who signed Gold Bunny figurines for the April 4 - 14 auction. All proceeds from the auction were matched by Lindt this year and will go to the research and advocacy organization Autism Speaks.
"There's just so many questions and very few answers. It's just something we have to do more research on and we have to get the answers that these families so desperately seek. Mine included," said Lachey.
— Nick Lachey (@NickLachey) April 16, 2014
According to a new report released in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in every 68 U.S. children has autism.
Image via Nick Lachey, Twitter.