Autism Speaks Announces Second Annual Baker Summer Camp Scholarship Program

New York, N.Y. (January 20, 2011) – Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization, today announced its second annual Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp Program, which will offer up to $3000 in funds to eligible camps to go towards scholarships for financially disadvantaged children with autism.

The Baker Summer Camp Program, funded by Norma and Malcolm Baker, began in Southern California. In 2010, it expanded to the national level through Autism Speaks' successful Family Services community grants initiative program, becoming the Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp Program.The program has proven to be a great success: last year, Autism Speaks funded 51 camps across 25 states and provided 338 children with scholarships for a total of $130,000.

Camps providing a summer camp program to individuals with autism who are financially disadvantaged are encouraged to apply for a Camp Scholarship Fund through the Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp Program. Applications will be accepted from now through March 1, 2011. Eligible camps will identify qualified campers and offer up to $3000 in scholarship funds for campers with autism to attend a summer camp.

Autism Speaks encourages individuals to contact their local camp organizations to submit an application. Camps should have a successful history of supporting individuals with autism; and preference will be given to camps that provide opportunities for inclusion with typically developing peers and those located in underserved communities.

Camp is a valuable therapeutic and recreational experience for children and young adults with autism, while providing respite for parents and siblings. The Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp Scholarship Programallows campers to grow and develop through camp participation while providing direct assistance to their families.

To apply, please CLICK HERE.

For additional information about the Autism Speaks Baker Summer Camp Program, please CLICK HERE.

For information on choosing a summer camp for an individual with autism, visit Autism Speaks' Community Connections.

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 $142.5 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 the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks 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, Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, such as the CHILD Magazine Children's Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women's Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever 'Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John's University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.