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e-Speaks Newsletter || April 8, 2011


The World Celebrates Autism Awareness

Autism Speaks celebrated World Autism Awareness Day on April 1 and 2 by encouraging the whole world to turn their lights blue. See how over 1400 landmarks and institutions around the globe participated, shining a blue spotlight on autism and celebrating individuals on the spectrum. The United Nations recognized the day with Autism Speaks at an event encouraging compassion and inspiring hope in the autism community. Vanessa and Donald Trump, Jr. also got involved in Light It Up Blue, hosting a fundraising event, A Blue Affair.

Best Places to Live

Autism Speaks recently conducted an informal online survey to determine the best places for people with autism and their families to live. Designed as a “conversation starter,” the survey asked people why their community is, or is not, a good place to live. See how your region fared and provide your feedback on our blog.

IACC Releases Summary of Advances

In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) released its Summary of Advances for 2010. Twenty articles that were published in 2010 were selected across each of the five areas of focus on the IACC strategic plan. Autism Speaks' supported research featured prominently in the list, with seven of the 20 papers identified as top advances receiving Autism Speaks support.

Halfway There - West Virginia is 25th State to Enact Autism Insurance Reform Legislation! 

On April 1 in a special signing ceremony, West Virginia became the 25th state to enact autism insurance thanks to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Insurance reform is on the move in a dozen other states including Virginia where the bill awaits Governor McDonnell's signature to become the 26th state and in Alaska, Hawaii and Rhode Island where hearings have been held the last two weeks. To learn more about how you can get involved in your state, visit

State of Autism Science Webinar Series Launched

The Science Webinar and Podcast Series is a new service from Autism Speaks to help keep the community informed about the latest in autism research. The inaugural episode of the series features Autism Speaks' Chief Science Officer,Geri Dawson, Ph.D., who shares two new exciting science initiatives at Autism Speaks aimed to deliver better medical care and develop novel treatments for our community.

NHL Face-off Event Benefits Autism Speaks, Gillen Brewer School

On March 21, over 450 guests came together for a spectacular evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to celebrate “Face-Off for a Cure: An Evening to Benefit Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School” – an event in partnership with the National Hockey League which raised over $1.1 million for Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School .

World Autism Awareness Day Walks

Two Walk Now for Autism Speaks events took place on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, doing their part to raise awareness and funds to support the mission of Autism Speaks. More than 2,500 people were on hand at the Abilene Zoo for the West Texas Walk Now for Autism Speaks -- Abilene (the first of three West Texas Walks in 2011). In Port St. Lucie, Fla., almost 100 teams and more than 2,500 walkers joined the 3rd Annual Treasure Coast Walk. Visit to find a Walk near you.

Why Do Children with Autism Wander?

To understand wandering behavior in autism spectrum disorders, researchers need information both from families of individuals who do and do not wander. The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) has launched a survey to study the experience of wandering. All families in the U.S. autism community are encouraged to participate in this first-ever survey. Please enroll in the IAN Project by visiting and participate in this critical survey.

Dr. Ricki Robinson Publishes "Autism Solutions"

Dr. Ricki Robinson, who recently published a new book, 'Autism Solutions: How To Create A Healthy and Meaningful Life For Your Child,' was kind enough to stop by our offices and participate in our first live Facebook chat, which was a huge success. For more about Dr. Ricki and her book, read our recent interview with her, and visit her web site, where her book is available for sale with proceeds benefitting Autism Speaks..

This Week on the Autism Speaks Blog

Check out this week's top posts and subscribe to the Autism Speaks Blog to receive an e-mail containing the day's stories.

In Their Own Words: Why Autism is Important to Me

In this ‘In Their Own Words' Darrin Steele, Chief Executive Officer of the USA Bobsled Team and the father of a son with autism, talks about the importance of autism awareness.