NEW YORK, NY (November 13, 2008) – Actress and producer Didi Conn -- the mother of a son diagnosed with autism -- has been named a national celebrity spokesperson for Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization. She will make appearances at a variety of awareness events, speaking about her experiences as the parent of a child with autism.
Ms. Conn is perhaps best known for playing the role of Frenchy in the classic films “Grease,” and “Grease 2” in addition to numerous roles in television series – including the acclaimed PBS children's series “Shining Time Station” -- and on Broadway. She is currently executive producing a new children's animated series called “Didi Delightful,” which will introduce a recurring character with autism.
“Autism Speaks is doing remarkable work advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families, while also promoting autism awareness in innovative ways,” said Conn. “As the parent of a son who is on the spectrum, I am grateful for their efforts and excited to have an opportunity to do whatever I can on behalf of this wonderful and important organization.”
“We are thrilled to have Didi representing Autism Speaks,” said Alison Singer, Autism Speaks executive vice president of communications and awareness. “She is a passionate advocate for all children, especially children with autism.”
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by 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 prevalence 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 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 www.autismspeaks.org.