It is thought that more than 28,000 people in the North East could have some degree of autism - the communication problem that ranges from profound disability to being almost unnoticeable.
It can seriously affect relationships with people around those who suffer from it.
A teenager with autism from County Durham has enlisted the help of fixers - the campaign that gives young people a voice - to raise awareness and encourage understanding.
The Chief Executive of a charity that offers advice and activities for children and young people with autism, says they must appeal for public help to support the demand for their services.
Daisy Chain has seen a 28% drop in income at a time when the need for services is on the rise. Staff say it is putting a strain on resources.
A support group which has seen a 600% rise in demand for its services and a big drop in income says it is now struggling to provide families with the help they need.
Daisy Chain offers advice and activities for children and young people with autism. The charity, based on Teesside, says more youngsters are now being diagnosed with the condition and it has more than 50 families waiting to join up.
A mother whose son has classical autism says more needs to be done to help North East families who are trying to get their children into specialist schools.
Anita Tyrell moved to the North East because the provision here is better than London.
However, she moved five times in the region because successive councils refused to pay for her son to go to a specialist school.
She said: "The North East has the best provision in the country. Actually probably the best in Europe.
"But even here, more needs to be done. It's still not enough. There are queues of families whose children are in the wrong education."It costs councils roughly £5,000 per year to educate a child, but more like £50,000 to provide specialist education for a child with autism.
The North East Autism Society says it now needs £2m to complete the first autism centre in the North East, but it will definitely go ahead now. The centre will have a specialist school, hairdressers and accommodation.
Sunderland football players will support a campaign for a new Centre for Autism in the North East. Members of the team will join families affected by autism on a mile-long fundraising walk around the Stadium of Light.
The money raised will help the North East Autism Society build a central base in Newton Aycliffe, to provide specialist services and support for families.