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Autism Speaks U November Webinar Recap!

On November 27, the Autism Speaks U team hosted a webinar for college students in Autism Speaks U chapters. Over 60 campuses across the country tuned in to learn about Autism Speaks’ mission. They heard from experts in Awareness, Family Services, Advocacy and Science as they reviewed key information and shared how these collegiate chapters are truly making a difference!

To view the full presentation with audio click here.  

To download the PowerPoint slides and share at the next chapter meeting, click here.

Below is a recap of the information shared by each department during the webinar:

Autism Speaks' Mission Includes 4 Pillars

  1. Awareness
  2. Family Services
  3. Science
  4. Advocacy


This department:

  • Works to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society (since the 2006 launch of Autism Speaks’ As Council campaign, there has been a 43% increase in autism awareness).
  • Helps to build a more compassionate community for individuals on the spectrum and encourages the public to learn the early signs of autism.
  • Worked to create World Autism Awareness Day in 2007 and started Light It Up Blue in 2010.
  • Shares information about Autism Speaks and the progress being made through a variety of communications vehicles.

How college students have helped and can get involved: 

  • Volunteer, fundraise and recruit participants for Walk Now for Autism Speaks events across the country.
  • Participate in awareness initiatives like Light It Up Blue, World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Awareness Month, etc.
  • Host awareness events on campus and in the local communities.

Family Services:

This department:

  • Provides information and resources to families and individuals (ranging from children to adults) affected by autism.
  • Houses the Online Resource Guide – the largest database of autism service providers’ in the world.
  • Includes the Autism Response Team, which is a team of specially trained staff who connect families with information, resources and opportunities. They also host online “office hours” to connect families with a wide variety of autism-related resources and Tool Kits.
  • Will partner with national organizations like Boy Scouts of America, Special Olympics, YMCA and Girl Scouts to develop training for volunteers to work with and include individuals with autism.

How college students have helped and can get involved: 

  • Volunteer at local schools and centers for individuals on the spectrum.
  • Host “sensory friendly” events on campus and in the community for children and adults on the spectrum and their families to attend.
  • Organize panel discussions about autism and speak at local elementary, middle and high schools about autism, focusing on how to eliminate bullying, when appropriate. 


This department:

  • Supports scientific research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure for autism. .Works to enhance the quality and access to medical care for individuals on the spectrum. In addition they are working to lower the age of diagnosis.
  • Has committed over $180 million to scientific research and programs. Currently, 71% of the funds raised from Autism Speaks goes towards research.

How college students have helped and can get involved: 

  • Host fundraising events which helps to fund research.
  • Set up awareness events on campus and in the community to help raise public awareness of autism.
  • Enter the autism research field as a post-collegiate career!

Advocacy & Autism Votes

This department:

  • Works to maximize support and funding for autism research, surveillance, awareness and services on a federal level.
  • Advocates for state insurance reform that maximizes coverage for autism treatments (as of November 2012, Autism Speaks has worked to help pass autism insurance reform in 32 states).
  • Lobbying to create an office of Autism Research within the National Institutes of Health.

How college students have helped and can get involved: 

  • Register through  to stay informed and react to federal, state and local government initiatives to support individuals with autism.
  • Spread the word about Autism Votes’ initiatives through calls, emails and social media (directions on how exactly to help are outlined in the Autism Votes emails).
  • Become an Autism Votes intern! Contact Shelley Hendrix at to learn about internship opportunities. 

Connect with Autism Speaks U via its websiteFacebook and/or Twitter.

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.