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By John Ostapkovich

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Today is World Autism Day.  But autism is always on the minds of two New Jersey moms who are now taking their message statewide, and beyond.

Debbie Schmidt and Christy Carlson both have kids on the autism spectrum, and together they founded the Cherry Hill-based organization Just 2 Moms, to push for awareness and acceptance of this widespread but varied condition.

Schmidt says she and Carlson go to schools all over the region.

“We’ve done assemblies in Pennsylvania, we do them all over New Jersey,” she tells KYW Newsradio.   “We did some in Delaware, and we’re excited to say we’re now going to our fourth state, New York State.”

The purpose of the trips, she says, is both to spread a message and to hear stories:

“You know, ‘There’s a classmate of mine that might have problems, and he toe-walks,’ or maybe, ‘He doesn’t talk to me and look at me,’ and we let them know that child might have autism.”

Schmidt’s plea is for kindness in the face of what may seem to be bad behavior.

“You can smile, give them a hand, and just know they might be challenged in some way,” she says.

For more information, go to just2moms.com.

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