Students at Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning walk to raise awareness and acceptance of their condition

SALT LAKE CITY -- 16,000 blue flags are flying on the lawn outside the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning.

Each flag represents a child in Utah with what's called Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It's more common in Utah than in the nation as a whole.

"The national rates of autism are one in 68 and here in Utah one in 58 kids are diagnosed with autism" Julia Hood, chief clinical officer at the Pingree Center said.  "Sso our rates here are high and likely everybody knows somebody with autism."

160 kids attend the Pingree school, and they walked through the nearby neighborhoods with family and friends.

Aurelia Midkiff has two children with autism, ten-year-old Aleah and five-year-old Alverson.

She said the walk is a great way to show others her children are special.

"It means more than I think anyone will ever know," Midkiff said.  "It's walking for a purpose and an awareness and acceptance of how beautiful these kids are, they're the most amazing things in the world."

More than anything, she wants people to know her kids are smart.

"If you're smart and you know it say 'I am,'" Midkiff sang.  "I am," answered Aleah.  "I am," Alverson answered.

There are a lot of volunteer opportunities at the Pingree Autism Center of Learning, and a need for donated items and money for the school.

For more information, click here..