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Autism Speaks and 'Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!' Team Up to Shine a Spotlight on World Autism Awareness Day

Animated Star Featured in Public Service Ad and "Walk on the Web" Site

NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 19, 2009) – Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, is teaming up with Wubbzy – star of Nick Jr.'s whimsical animated preschool television series “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!” – to promote World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) on April 2, a global effort to increase awareness of autism as a worldwide health crisis. Wubbzy will star in a series of public service announcements and on a special web site to encourage all to become involved with the virtual Walk on the Web.

A special web site, Walk with Wubbzy on the Web, has also been launched. This online “virtual walk” is an extension of Autism Speaks' Walk Now for Autism, which takes place in more than 75 communities across the United States, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Walk with Wubbzy on the Web site provides ideas about how people can celebrate World Autism Awareness Day in their local community, and also accepts donations to fund autism awareness and research efforts. Last year's Walk Now on the Web raised more than $40,000.

“We are very excited to have Wubbzy, who is so popular with young children and their parents around the world, as our unofficial ‘good will ambassador' for World Autism Awareness Day,” said Suzanne Wright, Co-founder of Autism Speaks. “Through Wubbzy, we will undoubtedly reach new audiences with our message of autism awareness and generate even more excitement about this year's WAAD activities.”

“We hear from many parents who say that their child with autism responds in a very special way to Wubbzy,” said Susan Miller, Executive Producer of “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!” “That is what inspired us to become involved with the great work Autism Speaks is doing through World Autism Awareness Day to make the world more accepting of people with autism and to highlight the need to advance autism research and advocacy. We are proud to play a role in this important effort.”

On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139 declaring April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day in perpetuity. This UN resolution established WAAD as one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days, with the goal of bringing the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of people with autism, and features community events around the world where individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced.

“Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!” is an Emmy® Award-winning animated series for young children broadcast on television networks around the world, including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Discovery Latin America, Super RTL and many others. Wubbzy and his friends discover the importance of open-mindedness, honesty and friendship. The show is produced by Bolder Media, Inc. in association with Film Roman, a Starz Media, LLC company. To learn more, please visit www.wubbzy.com.

About Autism
Autism is a complex brain 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 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. 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 dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks merged with the Autism Coalition for Research and Education (ACRE), the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org

About the Ad Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.