NEW YORK, NY (May 1, 2008) – AutismCares, an association of leading autism organizations that support families affected by autism in crisis due to natural disasters or other catastrophic life events, today announced its first round of Family Support Awards. The individual grants provide up to $1,500 in financial support for families facing a crisis such as the death of a family member, forced relocation, or loss of a job. For this inaugural round of grants, four families from California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin received awards. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis at www.AutismCares.org.
“AutismCares was born out of the compassion of the autism community,” said Peter Bell, executive vice president of Autism Speaks and one of the eight leadership partners of AutismCares. “We saw a need to expand our efforts as affected families in crisis across the country struggle to care for their special-needs children and these cases extend beyond just natural disasters.”
Funding for AutismCares Family Support Awards comes from its member organizations and direct contributions. Families interested in applying are encouraged to review the criteria and submit an application online at www.autismcares.org. Applications are reviewed frequently, due to the urgency of the requests, by representatives from the member organizations. Awards may be applied to expenses such as housing, healthcare, daycare, car repairs and funerals.
“Families with children with autism are often juggling very complex and demanding schedules; unplanned changes can cause tremendous setbacks in their affected child's development,” said Lisa Ackerman, executive director of TACA and AutismCares leadership committee member. “These Family Support Awards will give families in crisis some relief by helping to pay for housing, medical care and other urgent needs – which ultimately helps them care for their child.”
AutismCares is an association of leading autism organizations that supports families affected by autism experiencing natural disasters and other catastrophic life events. Organizations participating in AutismCares include: Autism Speaks, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, The Help Group, Princeton Autism Technology (PAT), SafeMinds, The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), and Unlocking Autism. For information on how your organization can participate, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.