MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — April is Autism Awareness Month and for the 19th year, the Autism Society of Minnesota is hosting an open conference to help talk about this puzzling disease.

Jonah Weinberg, the executive director of the Autism Society of Minnesota, joined the WCCO This Morning show on Tuesday to talk about the event. He said this year, they are working with the Minnesota Department of Education to focus on literacy and teaching it to kids with autism.

That also includes helping teachers instruct students with autism because the tactics and strategies used in a typical classroom don’t always work for kids with autism, Weinberg said. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, more than 16,600 kids in the state’s public schools were diagnosed with some form of autism in 2013. That number is up from 2012.

The Autism Society’s open conference will bring in experts from all across the nation that will offer proven techniques to help kids with autism learn. The four-day conference starts Wednesday night with an opening presentation from Garrison Keillor.