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The Month in Review – Autism Speaks March 2012 Impact

March Madness took on a whole new meaning for Autism Speaks! We were gearing up to Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day with exciting intiatives across all of our departments. March also closed out with the release of the CDC's new prevalence numbers that came with a lot of Autism Speaks activity - everything from television appearances, blog posts, newspaper editorials, testimonies, and live chats!

Take a minute to catch up on March!


New Prevalence Estimate On March 29,  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its estimate of autism prevalence to 1 in 88 children. Thehe news generated considerable media attention including Geri Dawson on the Today ShowNPR’s On Point  and CNN; to view click here and here.        

Autism Costs New research sponsored by Autism Speaks estimates that autism’s costs to the nation have reached $126 billion per year. The figure expands on previous estimates by including indirect costs such as lost family income and productivity in addition to the direct costs of autism-associated care.

DSM-5 Geri Dawson wrote “DSM-5 Update” A Letter from Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer” which discussed the proposed DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism and included perspective on the first study to shed light on the revision’s likely impact, and which described the important research we are funding to bring further clarity to the situation and guide our advocacy efforts.

New Research Funded More than $1.1 million in new research grants were announced. The funded studies include an examination of the impact of DSM-5, exploration of environmental risk factors and the development of a novel device to help individuals with ASD and auditory hypersensitivity.

Want to dig into Autism Speaks science even further? Visit the science section of our website, and read the latest blog posts from the science department.

Family Services

Military Families In conjunction with the Autism Speaks Salutes Military Families event at the Intrepid Museum, Family Services developed several new resources for military families impacted by autism, including state-by-state information to help families navigate their healthcare system. 

AutismCares iPad Giveaway
Thanks to gifts  AutismCares program recently donated almost 200 Apple iPads to families in need. We received and reviewed almost 13,500 applications in less than a month. Autism Speaks worked with BrainParade and several app developers to provide promotional codes for over 1,000 free apps.

Stay up to date with the latest from Family Services in a variety of ways! Subscribe to our monthly “community connections” newsletter, Bookmark the Family Services page on our website or read Family Services related blog posts.


Autism Insurance Reform Soon we will have the 30th state to pass autism insurance reform. Two days prior to the launch of Autism Awareness Month, the Michigan legislature passed several measures that comprise the elimination of insurance discrimination for families in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bills during April. Michigan represents more than 3% of the US population making the total population of Americans who live in states that have passed laws over 73%. Michigan has been trying to pass autism insurance reform for over five years. 

President's Committee Peter Bell, executive vice president for programs and services, was sworn in as an official member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. The Committee advises the President and Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on issues that impact people with intellectual disabilities and their quality of life.

Want to get more involved with Autism Speaks advocacy efforts? Sign up to become an advocate on or text “AVotes” to 30644 to be added to our mobile alert list.


Much media attention surrounded the new 1 in 88 prevalence numbers; Bob and Suzanne Wright were interviewed by Andrew Mitchell on MSNBC and Mark Roithmayr gave interviews on BBC America and CNN.


Autism Speaks Salutes Military Families Autism Speaks kicked off Autism Awareness month one day early with Autism Speaks Salutes Military Families at the iconic Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.  The event was emceed by ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff who spoke about the challenges and struggles faced by our military families. 

Acts of Love On Saturday, March 24, 2012, over 160 guests gathered in Atherton, Calif. outside of San Francisco for an exciting new fundraising event for Autism Speaks. Facing Autism Presents Acts of Love benefitting Autism Speaks raised nearly half a million dollars for autism research and advocacy.

Want to stay up to date on our awareness efforts? Visit the blog for the latest info… that page is also “RSS” enabled so you can add it to your newsreader!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.