e-Speaks: Penn. Governor Signs Autism Insurance Bill into Law; 8th Annual Potomac Race/Walk is Largest Yet; Experts Convene to Discuss Autism and Mitochondrial Disease e-Speaks || Circa July 11, 2008

Penn. Governor Signs Autism Insurance Bill into Law

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed into law the most comprehensive autism insurance bill in the nation yesterday. The new law provides $36,000 a year for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and other necessary treatments, and goes beyond many state insurance reform measures by mandating coverage up to age 21 with no lifetime cap. It also creates, for the first time under Pennsylvania law, an expedited appeals procedure for denied claims as a safeguard to ensure compliance by insurance providers. Private insurers will be required to provide coverage beginning in July 2009. Autism insurance reform legislation has now been enacted in eight states across the country, with many others currently considering legislative action. Read more about the Pennsylvania law here

8th Annual Potomac Race/Walk is Largest Yet

More than 3,000 people began their Fourth of July at Potomac Village in Maryland for the eighth annual Autism Speaks 5k race/1k walk. Read more and view photos and video here. On Sunday, August 10, ING Direct Ride Now returns to the Washington, D.C. area. The Ride Now program, started in Chicago six years ago, unites motorcycle enthusiasts for a day of awareness, fundraising and celebration. Visit the Ride Now website for more information on upcoming events.

Experts Convene to Discuss Autism and Mitochondrial Disease

On June 29, a panel of 15 experts convened in Indianapolis to discuss the co-occurrence of mitochondrial disease and autism. The Hannah Poling case has brought this issue to the public and into focus as a priority for researchers and clinicians. An important outcome of this meeting was the initiation of a dialog between researchers in autism and mitochondrial disease, increasing future collaborative research in this area. The promise of further collaboration was encouraging to an audience comprised of scientists and advocates interested in seeing more research at the interface of these two complex disorders. Read more.

ATP Facilitates Study of Mitochondrial and Synaptic Dysfunction in Autism

The Autism Tissue Program (ATP) is a brain tissue donor program sponsored by Autism Speaks that provides brain tissue to researchers worldwide. Three recently published papers demonstrate the importance of this precious resource in understanding the impact of mitochondrial dysfunction in autism and the role of synapses in autism. Read more.

More than 135 Guests Attend Second Annual Nantucket WalkKick-off

On June 28, over 135 guests attended the kick-off for the second annual Nantucket Walk Now for Autism, held at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. The Nantucket Walk will take place on August 16 at Jetties Beach on Nantucket. Read more and view photos and video here

HOSA Selects Autism Speaks as National Service Project Until 2010

The Voting Delegates of the national student organization Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) have unanimously chosen Autism Speaks to be their service project for a second term, until 2010. In 2006, HOSA selected Autism Speaks as its national service project to help raise awareness about autism and to teach students how they can make a difference in the lives of individuals and families living with autism. In just two years, 96,000 HOSA members have raised over $150,000 for Autism Speaks. Read more.

Autism Speaks Teams Up with Ad Council to Produce Olympic-Themed PSA

Autism Speaks and the Ad Council have created a new public service advertisement (PSA) pegged to next month’s Summer Olympics in Beijing. The print ad compares the long odds of a child becoming an Olympic athlete with the far likelier chance of being diagnosed with autism. The new ad is part of Autism Speaks’ highly successful three-year campaign conducted in conjunction with the Ad Council, focused on increasing awareness of the prevalence of autism and the importance of learning the early warning signs and seeking early intervention. Read more.

Autism Speaks Appoints New Board Members

Autism Speaks has appointed two new members to its board of directors, T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president at FedEx Corporation, and attorney Alison Niederauer. Glenn is married and the father of three children, the oldest of whom is a child with special needs. Niederauer is married to Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext. They have three children, one of whom was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age four. Read more.

“Uncle Ben’s Bike Ride” Raises Nearly $6,000 for AutismSpeaks

Over the course of three weeks, Catasauqua, Penn. resident Ben Ferenchak biked nearly 1,500 miles to raise funds and awareness for Autism Speaks, raising nearly $6,000. Read more and view photos here.


Donor Stories: Brian and Kristin Thompson

In August, 2007, after Brian and Kristin Thompson’s 11-year-old son with autism suddenly passed away, they courageously decided to donate his brain tissue to Autism Speaks’ Autism Tissue Program. Since becoming involved with Autism Speaks, the Thompson family has helped facilitate autism research through various awareness and fundraising events. Additionally, Team Reid raised more than $4,500 at the Los Angeles Walk Now for AutismRead more. Plus, read other donor stories hereand donate to Autism Speaks here.


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