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TODAY   |  April 02, 2014

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day

In TODAY’s Take, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist and Tamron Hall discuss World Autism Awareness Day, when autism organizations hold events to raise funds and awareness. “We’re all wearing a little bit of blue today” in honor of the event, Willie notes. Tamron is “touched” by parents sending in their kids' pictures.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> plaza on a day that's really starting to warm up a little bit.

>> yeah.

>> you can feel it. spring is in the air.

>> i'm willie geist along with natalie morales and tamron hall . al is actually out today as he gets rotator cuff surgery. throwing too many innings.

>> probably under right now as we speak.

>> here's the tweet al sent out this morning. people asking where he is. rotator cuff repair this a.m. thanks to dr. riley williams and his team, back to pitching middle relief for the yankees before you know it.

>> when you give a shoutout to your doctor. you know it's a good sign.

>> he thinks he's going to get a deal on the bill or something.

>> a deal on the rotator cuff .

>> that's not how it works.

>> feel better.

>> feel better, al. we'll see you when you're ready to get back.

>>> meanwhile, we're all wearing a little bit of blue today, a lot of blue in your cases. it is seventh annual world autism awareness day . autism organizations around the world mark the day with fund raising awareness raising events. do you know that 1 in 68 u.s. children now has an autism spectrum disorder . 1 in 68. that's a 38% increase from 1 in 88 just two years ago. doesn't necessarily mean it's more common. the rise is most likely from more frequent diagnosis. we know more about it, people are looking for the signs. the study has found that the brains of autistic children show abnormalties that are likely to have arisen before birth. more research is needed.

>> and we have a segment coming up. a couple have two children who have autism. we have a doctor on, as well, who is going to talk about warning signs as well as new therapies out there and how parents are, you know, helping get their kids to be mainstreamed and getting all the tools they need to be able to deal with it.

>> i've got to tell you, we've tweeted out pictures of us in the blue. willie and i were in the orange room which is blue. i was touched by the number of parents who sent pictures back of their children. this is a step. and thank you to everyone who sent tweets to us, facebook, as well, of your child in their blue appreciating the help. i think so often, in any case, you can feel alone. you feel like no one cares. one parent said it's tough, but this is my kid. and i love him. it's so sweet. thank you so much. and it means the world. means the world to these families to show we're a team.

>> it's great how much the organization has done the seven years it's been around to be able to raise awareness .

>> and it spawned other organizations. every day, there are small communities, small groups doing the same thing. big ups to them.

>> it's a tough disease for a parent to handle. hopefully we'll get some tips later on.

>>> a big news story we've been following today. a powerful 8.2 quake that struck off the coast of chile and triggered small tsunamis there. the epicenter 26 miles off the coast of chile. at least five people confirmed dead . hundreds of thousands were evacuated, though, overnight along the chilean coastline. a lot of people not able to sleep because of the warnings, as well. power outages, landslides block blocking roads that were reported. we still aren't sure the extent of the damage as you know, of course, we're trying to ascertain how much happened overnight. but as we mentioned, tsunami warnings still along the coast there. also, there was a tsunami warning that extended all the way to hawaii. and that is still in effect, although they're saying probably not likely that there would be a tsunami in the state of hawaii .

>> yeah.

>> story we're watching, keeping our eye on.

>> and sheer number of people in chile who fled the coast all at once. almost 1 million people getting this warning and fleeing.

>> they're used to, unfortunately, they're used to earthquakes there. just four years ago in 2010 , they had the tragic 8.8 earthquake, over 500 people killed there. certainly they're used to it. a lot of the buildings are built to withstand earthquakes. when i was in santiago, chile, you could see the extent of the damage in 2010 , but the buildings were still standing . but certainly smaller towns and areas outlying areas are not going to have that infrastructure.

>> massive, 8.2.

>> we'll keep an eye on that.

>>> i've decided that from here on out, we can never say we had a bad day at work. now, never ever ever.

>> i haven't seen the photograph yet. i'm bracing myself.

>> i know i use the word bananas a lot. this applies in this case. take a look at this. this is an x-ray.

>> no.

>> that is a real person. it is a chainsaw embedded in a man's neck. before i tell you anymore, let me pause and say he survived, ladies and gentlemen . he has quite a heart, get it? he's a tree trimmer -- you don't like that joke? james did because it's funny. well, monday afternoon, james was working in a tree and he was struck in the neck, if you can believe by that saw. another worker helped him down, his co-workers, the presence of mind not to panic and pull. they let the saw stay in place and transported him to the hospital where he had emergency surgery . he's in good condition. here's our learning moment of the day. do you take out an object if your child, for example, falls? and a pencil --

>> steve irwin was impaled by the sting ray thing and he pulled it out and they say that's probably what killed him. pulling it out because it opens the wound even further.

>> that's exactly right. if you are impaled with something, especially in a major core of the body, leave it in place. if you pull it out, causes severe bleeding. but having the presence of mind to remember what we knew and also what dr. samson says is a different thing. your natural instinct if you're a parent and you see your child has fallen on a pair of scissors is to pull it out and put pressure on it. that's wrong. so this guy survived because his coworkers knew what to do. it is some story.

>> he's talking, up and awake and probably able to talk about it, which is --

>> the question is also, has he seen that x-ray?

>> i don't want --

>> it's like i don't want to see that.

>> he went back to tree trimming because it's what he knows how to do.

>> i said, it can't be a real chainsaw. that's a full-size gas-operated chain saw .

>> almost his entire chest.

>> p i can't look at that without cringing.

>> it's incredible he's up and around back to trimming trees.

>>> you guys are as excited as i am about "sharknado 2"? right now, they're filming the sequel to the cult hit "sharknado," ian zehring and tara reid .

>> i have not seen this.

>> watch zehring, into the shark with a chainsaw, speaking of chainsaws.

>> reid is concerned.

>> zehring apparently no long with us. we're setting up the drama now.

>> do we want to see it?

>> yes.

>> it's not real.

>> it's not real. you just ruined the movie for me.

>> he cuts his way out.

>> he cuts his way out?

>> and survives and back to being him.

>> what's even better, al and matt have a little cameo in "sharknado 2."

>> is this okay?

>> yeah.

>> i haven't seen it.

>> al and matt have a role in the sequel. here it is.

>> let's see.

>> think of it this way, this is a twister with teeth. nuff said.

>> enough said, indeed, al, thank you very much.

>> ahhhh!

>> we're back live. i want to thank you for watching the "today" show. we now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

>> ahhhh!

>> give him the oscar right now.

>> that green pillow we should explain, right?

>> well, the green screen -- so i guess they're killing a shark or something?

>> i guess the shark's attacked the studio? they're everywhere.

>> oh, look at that.

>> they're well on their way -- what does tracey morgan call it? emmy grammy oscar and tony. with that acting.

>> it's a long road. it premieres on july 30th coming up this summer on our sister network --

>> we've got to have a watch party for "sharknado."

>> oscar buzz. yeah.

>>> we love cute little animals. any opportunity to bring you great animal pictures, you can count on us. take a look at the picture of this bear at the zoo in florida. it has gone viral.

>> is this real?

>> yes. a visitor took the pic of a bear sitting at the picnic table. apparently that's where they feed the bear. they added them to the exhibit. i guess they're concerned to like sitting at the picnic table. and as you see, there's a caption that says sometimes i wonder if there's more to life than just eating honey and stealing picnic baskets. very cute there.

>> happy bear?

>> very pensive. either that or he's like, where is the food.

>> something i would run from.

>> are you sure that's real?

>> that's real.

>> they sit there. the zoo workers --

>> oh, they sit there.

>> they feed them on the picnic table.

>> that's crazy --

>> hey, how you doing? what's for dinner?

>> they should walk through a buffet before they sit down.

>> i love the feet swinging. like he needs a highchair.

>> top that with the picture from the miami zoo yesterday announcing the birth of two female leopards, the first successful birth of the highly endangered species . the kittens, first litter for the parents. not going to be on exhibit, though, until they're stable enough to face the public.

>> stable enough to eat at the picnic table. then it'll all be fine.

>> the world will be right