NEW YORK, NY (September 10, 2007) -- Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and funding autism research, today provided a preview of some of the many initiatives and events it has planned for Fall 2007. They include the introduction of a range of unique tools for families impacted by autism, new awareness efforts and events, and science-focused initiatives.
TOOLS FOR FAMILIES
Autism Video Glossary
In early October, Autism Speaks, together with First Signs and Florida State University, will launch a web-based video glossary to help parents learn more about the early warning signs of autism. The glossary will contain dozens of video clips and will be available to the public free of charge at www.autismspeaks.org, www.firstsigns.org, and firstwords.fsu.edu. The goal of the project is to help parents of not-yet-diagnosed or newly diagnosed children better understand some of the words and terms they might hear used in association with a diagnosis of autism. Video clips will illustrate such terms as social reciprocity, joint attention, sensory defensiveness, hand flapping, and echolalia. In most cases, side-by-side video clips will show behaviors that are typical in contrast with those that are red flags for autism. Video clips will also give parents short windows into the different types of therapies available for children with autism.
100 Day Kit
Autism Speaks is creating a “care package” that will be a valuable tool for parents of newly diagnosed children. At a time when parents feel particularly overwhelmed and might not know what to do or where to turn, the 100 day kit will provide critical information about where to find services and other help. It will also include organizational information to make the first few months after diagnosis a little less overwhelming. The kits will be available via autismspeaks.org beginning in October.
AutismSpeaksVids on YouTube
Autism Speaks has joined with YouTube to create AutismSpeaksVids, a dedicated channel to help promote autism awareness online. The channel features a variety of clips from both professional and amateur sources. AutismSpeaksVids will host exclusive expert interviews, autism media coverage, ground-level fundraiser footage, advocacy efforts and more. And AutismSpeaksVids will draw from the submissions of the online community to bring a broad and varied look at autism and the individuals and families it affects. You can visit Autism Speaks' video channel, AutismSpeaksVids, at www.youtube.com/autismspeaksvids.
Autism Speaks Channel on TiVo
Autism Speaks and TiVo have partnered to create an Autism Speaks channel, which will feature a variety of video content provided by Autism Speaks, including the acclaimed Autism Speaks-produced documentary Autism Every Day and Autism Speaks' public service advertisements produced in conjunction with the Ad Council.
WALKS AND EVENTS
Walk Now for Autism
More than thirty Walk Now for Autism events, the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, will be held across the country this fall, from Washington, DC, and Orlando to Las Vegas, Denver and Seattle. A full calendar of walk events and information about how to become involved can be found at walknowforautism.org.
Other activities planned for fall 2007 include: Ride Now events in Chicago (September 16) and Philadelphia (October 7); An Afternoon of Love (September 15); the Second Annual Autism Speaks Golf Classic at Deepdale (September 24); the Autism Speaks D.C. Golf Classic (October 8); Acts of Love: A Celebration of Parents and Their Children (October 15); Autism Speaks to Wall Street: A Celebrity Chef Gala (October 24); and Autism Awareness Night at Hofstra University on Long Island (November 17). For more information on these and other Autism Speaks events, visit: http://www.autismspeaks.org/sponsoredevents/index.php.
To keep the autism community updated on Autism Speaks-funded research initiatives, the organization will debut a new semi-annual science edition of its Speaking Out newsletter this fall. In addition, Autism Speaks' Clinical Programs newsletter, Family Connections, will be released in the coming weeks
New Autism Tissue Program Web Site
This fall, Autism Speaks will re-launch the web site for the Autism Tissue Program (ATP), a parent-led post-mortem brain tissue donation program dedicated to autism research. The Autism Tissue Program makes post-mortem brain tissue available to as many qualified scientists as possible to advance autism research. Using brain tissue, scientists can go far beyond the constraints of other technologies and study autism on both a cellular and molecular level. The Autism Tissue Program is supported by Autism Speaks, in partnership with the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center in Massachusetts and the Children's Hospital of Orange County in California (CHOC). The new site will provide information about the program, updates on research initiatives and details about how donations may be made.
New Athletes Against Autism Web Site
Autism Speaks is also re-launching the web site for Athletes Against Autism. Athletes Against Autism is a group of athletes, personally touched by autism, who are harnessing their efforts into one voice in order to raise awareness and funds for autism research, treatment and education programs. Founding members are NHL hockey players Olaf Kolzig, Byron DaFoe and Scott Mellanby. The revamped site will provide updates on Athletes Against Autism's ongoing activities and upcoming events.
Autism: The Musical Tour
The acclaimed documentary “Autism: The Musical” will have a limited theatrical run before its television debut on HBO next year. The film will be shown in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and several other cities throughout the country this fall. A portion of the film's net proceeds will benefit Autism Speaks.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme 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 diagnosis 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, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.