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Calls to Action

The Daily Brief

January 22, 2016

Advice on helping grade schooler with autism hold a pencil and write

This week’s ‘Got Questions’ column looks at the question presented by a parent who has an 8-year-old son with autism that can’t write but only grips the pen to scribble. Our experts discuss how pre-writing skills may be the key to helping him. Read more here.

Cheerleading team "Sparkles" with inclusion

A New Jersey high school cheerleading team recently transformed into an inclusive squad, to include both students with and without disabilities. Seven new members, called the Sparkles, range in disabilities from Down syndrome to autism spectrum disorders. Read more here

Amateur weather man on the autism spectrum tells people to ‘stay safe’ this weekend

Frankie MacDonald is at it again with another viral weather video! MacDonald who has autism is an amateur weatherman who recently talked about the blizzard that is heading toward Maryland this weekend. He says, “Take care, stay safe, don’t get caught in a massive blizzard for people living in Maryland. Stay warm and be safe. You can read more of MacDonald’s story here.

Autism Speaks names Angela Timashenka Geiger as President and CEO

“She is a visionary, with a history of leadership and a record of accomplishment in family services, supporting the field, driving revenue, and advancing science and advocacy priorities," said Autism Speaks Chairman of the Board Brian Kelly. Read more.

Candy's art inspires people around the world

Candace, aka Candy, is 15 years old and has autism. Candy is nonverbal, but is able to express herself through her paintings. Candy's art has inspired people and raised autism awareness around the world, and has been featured in countless news articles and publications. Read more about her art here

TRM basketball joins in autism awareness

The second annual Shooting 2 Change event is happening this week from Jan 17-23 where participating schools will show their support of autism by wearing special Shooting 2 Change t-shirts. The story here highlights the T.R. Miller basketball team in Brewton, Alabama. Read more about the initiative here

After The Diagnosis: How Families Experience Autism

Raising kids is rewarding and raising kids is hard. That work is compounded when you have a child with autism. And each of these families experiences the disorder differently. NPR hears from four families on their experiences following the diagnoses, the resources they found and help they still need. Listen to their stories at NPR.

Scholarship offered to students with autism in honor of Avonte Oquendo

One New York City law firm is looking to keep the memory of Avonte Oquendo — a teen with autism who went missing in 2013 and was later tragically found dead — alive by helping others. Read more.

Team Up! Meets the Challenge at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

As you would expect, the 2nd annual Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland gave runners the opportunity to dress as Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, Princess Leia, a Storm Trooper, a Jedi Knight, and even BB-8. Read more.

How I stopped looking for the mile markers and let my son "drive"

Ahhh...the family road trip. When everyone gathers their devices, snacks, blankets and any other necessary items to keep us all sane while we spend 2.5 hours together...in a closed space...all of us...with no escape. Read more.

Why has this grade schooler with autism started whispering?

“Our 11 year old son is a minimally verbal boy on the autism spectrum. He can say a few words including ‘papa’ and ‘mama.’ But in the last year, he suddenly started only whispering or mouthing these words. I can see his lips move. But very seldom can we get him to speak loud enough for people to hear. Otherwise, he seems to be developing quite well. Why is this happening? Can anybody help?” Read our expert's advice.

The World of Autism PSA

Autism Speaks joined the Ad Council and BBDO New York, the long-time volunteer agency for Autism Speaks, to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to help parents recognize the early signs of autism and take immediate action. For the first time in the campaign’s history, the new PSAs feature an imaginative world, created using 3D and stop-motion animation, inspired by stories of real children with autism and told from the perspective of a child with autism. The PSAs are an extension of the award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign, created by BBDO, which has helped significantly increase the percentage of parents who recognize the early warning signs of autism.