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Autism Speaks Co-founder Suzanne Wright to Address United Nations Group

An Effort to Increase Awareness Among International Non-Governmental Organizations About Autism and Its Impact on Families Worldwide

NEW YORK, NY (June 27, 2007) -- Autism Speaks Co-founder Suzanne Wright will participate in a special briefing sponsored by the United Nations Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organization Section entitled “Autism: Raising Awareness, Changing Attitudes,” on Thursday, June 28 at the UN in New York City. The briefing, which will be attended by representatives of various international non-governmental organizations, will include a discussion of the social challenges posed by the disorder.

The program will begin with a screening of a portion of the acclaimed documentary Autism Every Day, which was produced by Autism Speaks, and the new television advertisements in phase two of the Autism Speaks-Ad Council awareness campaign.

Joining Mrs. Wright in the panel discussion will be Dr. W. Ian Lipkin of the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory and Eric Olson of the Focal Point on Family, Social Integration Section, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations. The panelists will discuss efforts to raise awareness of autism in order to eradicate stigmas and prevalent misconceptions, as well as to raise funds for autism research.

The briefing will be streamed live online, beginning at 10 a.m. EDT at and can be accessed afterwards by visiting


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.

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