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Calls to Action

AutismCares Offers Support to Families Affected by California Fires

New York, NY (Oct 25, 2007) – AutismCares is actively seeking families affected by autism who are also victims of the California wildfires, and invites those families to call the Autism Response Team at 1-888-Autism2 or email autismcares@autismspeaks.org to receive assistance. Families may also register directly at www.autismcares.org. Registration will enable AutismCares to contact families to provide support services. AutismCares can also facilitate temporary and permanent relocation for families, mobilize specialty assistance teams including therapists, and provide autism-related supplies directly to families and the professionals caring for them.

AutismCares is a consortium of leading autism organizations and was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to coordinate relief efforts for the thousands of families who were victims of the disaster. AutismCares subsequently assisted families displaced by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma and now supports all families affected by autism who fall victim to natural disasters. Children with autism often require intensive biomedical and behavioral therapies and thoroughly planned routines. AutismCares has created a network to support families whose struggle with autism is intensified by natural disaster, forced relocation and scarce resources.

After Hurricane Katrina struck, AutismCares directly assisted over 80 families, providing housing, furniture, toys, groceries and other essential items. “AutismCares was born out of the compassion that members of the autism community have for one another,” said Peter Bell, executive vice president of Autism Speaks and executive committee member of AutismCares. “Many of us know firsthand how challenging it is to care for a child with autism. Add a natural catastrophe that strips a family of everything it has and it's a recipe for disaster.”

Monetary donations to AutismCares may be made online at www.autismcares.org. The legal entity of AutismCares was originally housed under Boise State University Foundation – c/o Center of Health Policy Autism Programs, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Foundation provided legal and fiscal oversight, as well as resources to ensure expedient and compliant public policy and support. Earlier this year, oversight was transferred to Autism Speaks. This week Autism Speaks made a donation of $15,000 to support the work of AutismCares. The Help Group has donated $5000.

Visit www.autismcares.org for additional information about: the AutismCares relief initiative; current newsroom information; aid coordination for families living with autism; online registration forms for in-kind donations of transportation, accommodations, therapy and respite services, volunteer information; and information on products needed for care packages. The Help Group is also offering counseling services to affected families. Interested individuals can call The Help Group at 877-943-5747

Autism leadership groups participating in relief efforts through AutismCares include:

Autism Speaks www.autismspeaks.org
NJ Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community www.cosac.org
The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation www.dougflutiejrfoundation.org
First Signs
www.firstsigns.org
The Help Group www.thehelpgroup.org
Organization for Autism Research (OAR) www.researchautism.org
Princeton Autism Technology (PAT) www.autismtechnology.org
The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) www.autismcenter.org
TalkAutism www.talkautism.org
Unlocking Autism www.unlockingautism.org