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Former Anthrax star Dan Spitz has opened up about his struggles as a father of two autistic children in efforts to help raise awareness about the disorder.

The rocker and his wife Candi are parents to two identical twins boys, both of whom have been diagnosed with autism. They decided to open up about the issues with child-rearing in a bid to promote early intervention and to mark America’s Autism Awareness Month.

“Everything was normal until around 15 months (and) we started noticing a bit of a delay,” Candi said. “They had a reaction to shots at 12 months, which the vaccine subject is very controversial. At this point in time, we don’t believe it was the vaccines that caused it, but we noticed a reaction and a delay in development right afterwards…They were still walking, talking, playing until around 17-and-a-half to 18-months and (then) they lost everything. In a two-week window, they stopped eating… then they stopped playing. Then they stopped making eye contact… You couldn’t kiss them, touch them, you couldn’t hug them, they were completely gone.”

Dan is hoping to use his celebrity status and personal story to draw attention to the cause.

“We have children who we really can’t take anywhere,” Dan commented, “If we are going to try to take them somewhere, we know there is going to be a meltdown. One of them carried 38 stuffed animals into the car and it took two hours to get ‘em from the front door to the car door, screaming and yelling… (But) she (Candi) decided that we wouldn’t stay home. Our children are going to know how to function in society, no matter what…We’re not here to suck somebody’s money and give it to an organisation – we live this everyday and it’s time somebody sees this and knows not just the statistical data, it’s crazy and it’s everywhere, but, ‘OK this is what it is, for real.’”

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