The second annual World Autism Awareness Day was held on Thursday, April 2 and celebrated with events around the globe. In NYC, Autism Speaks volunteers and supporters opened the day by ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange.
NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer was joined at the Opening Ceremony by his wife Alison, their son Liam, and daughters Amanda and Eva. Also on the platform were Autism Speaks Co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright with their grandson Mattias, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of the State of Qatar, Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr and his wife Chris, Autism Speaks board member Billy Mann and his wife Gena, and Autism Speaks board member, actress and mother of a child with autism Holly Robinson Peete. View footage of the Open Ceremony here and click here to see more photos from the NYSE.
Immediately after the Opening Bell, the Niederauers and Wrights were interviewed on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. Bob Wright touted the great news of the introduction of the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act. The bill is a comprehensive federal legislation that addresses several critical challenges facing the autism community, including services for adults and insurance reform. Duncan Niederauer spoke about the creation of WAAD and introduced his son Liam, who rang the opening bell for the second year in a row. Liam politely asked to speak, saying “I actually admit it was kind of nice to let me ring the bell one time, but two times was pretty good!” View the segment below.
Autism Speaks was also featured prominently on all three national network morning shows. NBC's The Today Show featured an interview with Autism Speaks Chief Science Officr Geri Dawson, Ph.D. (view the segment here), and Autism Speaks volunteers from Alpha Xi Delta were on the plaza to celebrate WAAD. Over at the CBS Early Show, volunteers from the NYC Walk Now for Autism were out in full force with volunteers from Autism Speaks corporate sponsor Lindt. In addition, the Early Show ran a story on WAAD (view the segment here). Not to be outdone, ABC's Good Morning America interviewed Bob and Suzanne Wright and families coping with autism who discussed the high cost of autism on families and the importance of early intervention. They encouraged people to learn more and get involved and cited the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit as a great resource for newly diagnosed families. The segment also featured Ann Guay, a policy analyst with Mass Advocates for Autism, an organization which recently received an Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grant. View the Good Morning America segment here.