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Calls to Action

AutismCares Offers Support to Families Affected by Midwest Floods

New York, NY (June 20, 2008) – AutismCares is actively seeking families affected by autism who are also victims of the flooding in Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, and other Midwestern states, 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 provides support for the costs associated with housing, utilities, insurance premiums, medical care, prescriptions, daycare, automobile repair, funeral expenses and other items or events for eligible families on a case-by-case basis.

AutismCares is a consortium of leading autism organizations 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 the California wildfires and now supports all families affected by autism who fall victim to natural disasters and catastrophic life events. 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.

To qualify for assistance, a family must have experienced one or more of the following major life events within the previous 90 days: natural disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, severe storm or earthquake); death or critical illness or injury in the immediate nuclear family; a violent crime; loss of home through foreclosure, eviction or natural disaster; or loss of job.

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. AutismCares is funded by contributions from its member organizations, as well as individuals. One hundred percent of donations are distributed to families in need.

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.

Autism leadership groups participating in relief efforts through AutismCares include: