NEW YORK, NY (July 10, 2008) – Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, and the Ad Council have created a new public service advertisement (PSA) pegged to next month's Summer Olympics in Beijing. The print ad compares the long 1 in 28,500 odds of a child becoming an Olympic athlete with the far likelier chance -- 1 in 150 -- of being diagnosed with autism.
“As the world prepares to focus its attention on the accomplishments of some remarkable athletes, we
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believe this is an ideal opportunity to focus attention on what children with autism can accomplish if they are diagnosed early and receive early intervention services," said Alison Singer, Autism Speaks executive vice president for communications and awareness. “Our goal is to make every parent familiar with the early warning signs of autism so that children get those services as soon as possible.”
The new ad is part of Autism Speaks' three-year campaign conducted in conjunction with the Ad Council, focused on increasing awareness of the prevalence of autism and the importance of learning the early warning signs and seeking early intervention. The campaign has thus far generated more than $125 million in donated print, broadcast and online media and is credited with raising awareness of autism by more than 43%. The campaign was recently awarded a prestigious bronze Effie award as a testament to its success in building awareness. Last month, the Ad Council renewed its campaign with Autism Speaks for an additional three years.
"The Autism Awareness campaign has been tremendously successful in raising awareness of autism and encouraging parents to learn the signs,” said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO, The Advertising Council, Inc. “We are incredibly proud of this effort and delighted to continue our partnership with Autism Speaks in order to ensure that every child with autism might benefit from early intervention."
Autism Speaks' ads are produced pro bono by BBDO and have appeared on local and network television and radio, as well as publications including the New York Times, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Men's Healthand Architectural Digest. To learn more about the Autism Speaks/Ad Council “Learn the Signs” awareness campaign, visit /whatisit/learnsigns.php.
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 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.