UNION CITY, Calif. — When Noah Quianzon still was not talking by the time his third birthday neared, his parents suspected something was wrong. They noticed his lack of eye contact with others and that he would withdraw into his own world.
Eventually, Noah was diagnosed with autism. His parents were devastated. Friends and family members tried reaching out, but because they didn't fully understand autism they were unsure of how best to support the couple.
Two years later, after changing his diet and trying various forms of therapy, 5-year-old Noah seems to be showing signs of progress.
But the road hasn't been easy, and the struggle isn't over.
Parents Joseph and Rowena Quianzon prepare separate meals for Noah that are free of gluten, wheat and dairy products; devote about 15 hours a week to therapy sessions with their son; and try to maintain a sense of normality for their other two boys, ages 6 and 3.
Their story will be one of 20 from throughout the country featured in the documentary "The United States of Autism," scheduled for release next year. A four-person film crew from Pennsylvania is traveling across the country, visiting 20 households in 40 days to document the lives of families with autistic children. The documentary will be submitted to film festivals and television stations starting next summer.