e-Speaks: Mid-Year Highlights; Interview with Geri Dawson on Vaccines and Autism; Back to School


e-Speaks || August 7, 2009

Autism Speaks President Shares Mid-Year Highlights

In his mid-year review, Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr recounts the organization’s achievements over the past six months. The letter focuses on successes in each portion of the mission (science, government relations, advocacy, family services and awareness), as well as the fundraising efforts that made these accomplishments possible. Read more.

Interview with Geri Dawson on Vaccines and Autism

A recent interview with Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer, Geri Dawson, Ph.D., discusses the possible correlation between vaccines and autism. Dr. Dawson addresses Autism Speaks’ stance on the issue and explains how the organization funds research. Read more.

Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Autism

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chaired a hearing Wednesday, August 5 on the state of autism research, treatments and interventions. Among those who testified were Tom Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Autism Speaks’ Geri Dawson, Ph.D., and four parents who cited the desperate need for services in states across the country. Read more.

Committee Passes Autism Amendment to Health Care Bill

On July 31, members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed Representative Mike Doyle’s (D-PA) autism insurance reform amendment to “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” H.R. 3200, prohibiting discrimination in benefits against persons with autism. Read more.

Family Services Preps Families for Back to School

As summer comes to an end, Autism Speaks is providing helpful information and updated resources which help families, teachers and administrators ensure that students with autism have a successful transition into the new school year. The information ranges from new resources in the School Community Toolkit, beneficial safety information for school personnel, and a new Community Connections page that will offer suggestions and tips to help prepare families for the upcoming school year. Read more.

IAN Reports on Education and School Environments

The Interactive Autism Network (IAN), a project collecting information online from families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) throughout the United States, surveyed parents about education and learning experiences. The survey discusses services provided by schools, inclusion, challenges to students and successes. The report also provides resources for parents, just in time for the start of the school year. Read more.

New Website Shows How ATN Funding Advances Mission

Autism Speaks announces the creation of a new website for the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). The site, which can be accessed at www.autismspeaks.org/airp, features information on the wide range of activities conducted by the Autism Treatment Network (ATN), including the development of clinical practice guidelines for insomnia and gastrointestinal issues. Read more.

Watch Exclusive Interview with Hugh Dancy: Star of Adam

We had an opportunity to sit down with Hugh Dancy, the star of the new movie, Adam, in New York City. In the interview, Hugh talks about playing the role of Adam, a young man who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Read more about the film and watch the interview here.

U.S. Signs UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Last Thursday, Autism Speaks’ President, Mark Roithmayr, joined representatives from several disabilities organizations at a reception for the United States’ signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD urges equal protection and equal benefits under the law for all citizens, rejects discrimination in all its forms, and calls for the full participation and inclusion in society of all persons with disabilities. Read more.

Bike to the Beach Raises $175,000

Two hundred cyclists biked from Washington, D.C. to Bethany Beach, Del. on Friday, July 31, in the annual Bike to the Beach to benefit Autism Speaks. Dozens of flat tires, hundreds of bananas and gallons of water later, the riders raised over $175,000 for autism research. Read more and view photos here.

Autism Speaks Co-founder Encourages Supporters to Participate in “I am Autism” Film

In her own words, Suzanne Wright invites you to participate in an exciting global project. We need video footage from around the world of people who are on the autism spectrum for a film to be created by Academy Award-nominated director Alfonso Cuarón and Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Billy Mann. Watch her video and learn how to be a part of the film “I am Autism” here.

In Their Own Words: Adam, a Parent’s Perspective

In our latest “In Their Own Words” essay, the father of a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome shares his reaction to the film Adam, a love story about a young man who has autism. He explains how viewing the film caused him to reflect on his concerns regarding his own son’s future. Read more.

Coming Soon

August 11:
Jacksonville Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick-off (Orange Park, Fla.) 

August 15:
Houston Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick-off (Houston, Texas) 
Kansas City Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick-off (Lenexa, Kan.) 
Richmond Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick-off (Richmond, Va.) 
Terre Haute Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick-off (Terre Haute, Ind.) 

August 16: 
Baltimore Walk Now for Autism Speaks Kick-off (Cockeysville, Md.)


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