Autism Speaks and The Home Depot Team Up to Shine a Light on World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month

The Home Depot Sells Blue Coleman LED Lanterns and Light Bulbs to Support Autism Speaks' Light It Up Blue Initiative

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 21, 2011) – Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization, and The Home Depot® have partnered to shine a light on autism during Autism Awareness Month in April and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The Home Depot, the largest distributor of Coleman products, will sell blue Coleman LED lanterns and blue light bulbs starting mid-March, offering people across the country the opportunity to raise autism awareness through Autism Speaks' Light it Up Blue initiative. A portion of each sale will go to Autism Speaks to fund research, advocacy, family services, and awareness for families struggling with this disorder.

“The Home Depot and Coleman have become critical partners in Autism Speaks' Light It Up Blue campaign,” said Pat Kemp, Autism Speaks Executive Vice President – Marketing, Corporate Relations and Development. “We can now encourage all Americans, whether they are touched by autism or not, to join the campaign on April 1 and 2 to show their compassion for families facing this disorder by lighting up their homes blue.”

The light bulbs retail for $1.65, and $1 from each one purchased, up to $80,000, will benefit Autism Speaks. The Coleman LED lanterns retail at $19.88 and $2 from each, up to $160,000, will go to Autism Speaks. The lantern alternates from white to blue when illuminated. The Home Depot arranged for the specially marked Light It Up Blue Coleman products to be manufactured and distributed throughout all of their stores in the United States and will be available in stores from March 15 through the end of April or while supplies last. (See photos of Light It Up Blue displays from Home Depots on the Autism Speaks blog).

The Light It Up Blue campaign, now in its second year, has garnered the support of over 300 iconic buildings and landmarks across the globe that will illuminate their structures in bright blue on the evening of April 1 and 2 in an effort to help raise awareness and shine a bright light on autism as a growing public health crisis.

Autism Speaks has a special Web site, www.lightitupblue.org, to highlight the campaign. The Light It Up Blue Web site provides unique and fun ideas about how people can get involved in their local community, from hosting autism-themed gatherings to viewings of autism-themed films and TV programs. The site also accepts donations to fund autism awareness and research efforts.

About Autism
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research through 2014 and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks' Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $258 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 23 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 14 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

About Home Depot
The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,248 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,248 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. In fiscal 2010, The Home Depot had sales of $68.0 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $3.3 billion. The Company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index.