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Toys 'R' Us to Kick Off In-Store Fundraising and Awareness Campaign to Help Autism Speaks Solve the Puzzle of Autism

In Conjunction with Autism Awareness Month, The World's Greatest Toy Store Launches National Program to Give a Voice to Children with Autism

WAYNE, NJ (March 13, 2007) – This weekend, Toys “R” Us and the Toys “R” Us Children's Fund will kick off a nationwide fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, the world's leading organization devoted to autism awareness, advocacy and research. From March 18 through May 4, all 586 Toys “R” Us stores across the country will accept cash donations to support Autism Speaks in its efforts to help solve the puzzle of autism. Online shoppers can also contribute by visiting The program coincides with Autism Awareness Month, which is officially designated as April each year.

As part of the campaign, Toys “R” Us will offer customers valuable information about autism, both in stores and online, to increase public awareness about the disorder.

Toys “R” Us engaged the National Lekotek Center, an independent organization dedicated to children with disabilities, to create a special edition of the Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids that identifies “Ten Toys That Speak to Autism.” The ten toys selected promote language, creativity and social skills that aid an autistic child's development. This unique list features toys that children with autism can play with alongside their siblings and friends and also includes early warning signs of autism. The list will be available at all Toys “R” Us stores and online at

“Through our ‘Ten Toys That Speak to Autism' initiative, we are pleased to provide an authoritative resource to help anyone who knows and loves an autistic child ,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us, Inc. “ Bringing smiles to all children through the simple act of play is at the very heart of our business, and we are proud to partner with Autism Speaks in its efforts to advocate for the needs of children and families affected by this disorder. ”

All money raised during the seven-week campaign will go directly to Autism Speaks to fund research into the causes, prevention and treatments to ultimately find a cure for autism.

“With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently releasing revised statistics that the prevalence of autism has increased to one in 150 children, this campaign could not come at a more crucial time,” said Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “We are extremely grateful to Toys “R” Us for its help in raising much-needed funds and generating awareness for this disorder that affects so many families.”

In addition to the fundraising and awareness program, Toys “R” Us and the Toys “R” Us Children's Fund proudly serve as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of more than 60 fundraising walk events across the country. Toys “R” Us employees are joining in the walks and the fight against autism by forming regional teams in their communities.

All money raised at Toys “R” Us stores, online at and through the Walk Now for Autism program will benefit Autism Speaks. The Toys “R” Us Children's Fund launched the partnership last month by providing a $250,000 grant to Autism Speaks.

Toys “R” Us is the world's leading specialty toy retailer. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,500 stores, including 586 stores in the U.S. and 680 international toy stores, which includes licensed and franchise stores, and through its Internet site at Babies “R” Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and a leader in the juvenile industry, and sells merchandise through 251 stores in the U.S. as well as on the Internet at

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 and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. 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