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The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

ATLANTA -- Eight year old Ava Bullard is playing with her sisters, riding their bikes on their long country driveway. It is a simple act that defies those who said she would never talk, those who said she wouldn't function in the real world.

Ava was not a typical baby, or toddler.

Her mother Anna says, "You couldn't interact with her."

MORE | Complete coverage of The Autism Gap

Ava did not play with toys. Did not speak. Could not dress herself. Did not interact with her parents or sisters. Slept two hours a night. She was in her own world.

Anna says, "It's like she looked straight through me. She would just...it's like you weren't there, if you were in the room with her."

Anna Bullard took Ava from doctor to doctor for months. One doctor told the family Ava was 'just weird.'

AARP offering tax help for seniors

AARP offering tax help for seniors

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. -- The AARP will be holding free tax help sessions for senior citizens through Tax Day.

The sessions are held every Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Peachtree City United Methodist Church.

Attendees are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Peachtree City UMC is located at 225 Robinson Road. The help sessions are held in Rooms 120-122.

Atlanta recruiting 5,000 volunteers for cancer study

Atlanta recruiting 5,000 volunteers for cancer study

ATLANTA -- Sixty years ago, 1 million men and women signed up for the first-ever Cancer Prevention Study. They filled out surveys every few years. And the information from those million Americans led to a dramatic discovery.

Doctor Alpa Patel with the American Cancer Society is the lead researcher on CPS3, the third generation of the cancer prevention studies.

MORE | Join the Cancer prevention Study 3

"The first study was actually set up to specifically address the question of whether not smoking caused lung cancer, and it provided the first evidence that in fact smoking is what was the causal fact, causal factor with the increase rise in lung cancer death rates we were seeing in men at that time," she said.

Fayette County latest to look at closing some schools

Fayette County latest to look at closing some schools

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- Like many other metro Atlanta area school systems, Fayette County's says it needs to close several schools.

Not too many years ago it was getting several hundred new students each year.

But now it's losing about 500 students annually, partly due to a sagging economy and partly to an aging population.

The system says it needs to close four of its 30 schools and eliminate about 250 jobs to save around $15 million in next year's budget.

Closing the four schools, without eliminating any jobs, would save about $3 million of the $15 million.

One of those schools could be Tyrone Elementary, which is sad news to parent Tamara Dixon who transferred her son there thanks to its good reputation.

"This was actually his first year here; he's a first grader," she told 11Alive News on Monday.

"So if it closes, we're going to be very sad about this," Dixon added.

Ellen surprises local family during talk show

PEACHTREE CITY -- Tiffany Rowan and her family know the power of a good deed.

After all, it was the kindness of others that kept the family going; seven years ago, she and her husband both lost their jobs two weeks after moving into a new house.

"We lost our cars, house, savings. Everything we owned," Rowan said.

So when she heard talkshow host Ellen DeGeneres was accepting nominations for "Kick in the Kindness Week," Tiffany wanted to nominate the group of people who stepped up to help her family through their hard time.

It took just one late-night phone call for Tiffany to learn how returning that kindness would mean more than she ever imagined.

"I answered my phone and she said something to the effect of 'If you want to talk, this is Ellen' and I just about lost it," Rowan said. "I thought that was the greatest thing ever!"

USA Today Metro Atlanta Super 25 Girls Poll

ATLANTA -- As region tournaments approach, the final regular season edition of the USA Today Metro Atlanta Super 25 Girls Poll is here.  This week a new face appears and a defending state champion drops out of the top 10, but the name at the top is unchanged.

North Gwinnett remains in the top spot with region rival Norcross second.  Parkview, Wesleyan and Tucker make up the top 5.  With Miller Grove, Buford, Stephenson, Alpharetta and Cherokee rounding out the top 10.

Defending state champion Columbia drops from 8th to 13th this week.

Calhoun checks in at 25th, while Mountain View drops out of the Super 25.

Biotech facilities to open in Marietta, Peachtree City

Biotech facilities to open in Marietta, Peachtree City

ATLANTA -- Two biotech companies are coming to metro Atlanta and creating dozens of jobs.

Kennesaw-based MiMedx Group Inc. is planning to relocate to an 80,000 square-foot facility in Marietta by the end of the year. The move will create about 40 jobs. MiMedx Group Inc. uses amniotic tissues to manufacture biomedical products doctors use to heal wounds.

Japanese manufacturer Calpis America Inc. has decided to open its U.S. headquarters and first manufacturing operation in Peachtree City. In its first year, the animal feed ingredients-producing company plans to create 42 jobs and invest $20 million.

"As the No. 1 poultry-producing state in the nation, Georgia is the ideal place for Calpis to expand in the United States," Gov. Nathan Deal said Friday. "The company's strategic decision to locate here moves us closer to becoming the best place in the nation in which to do business."