e-Speaks || February 6, 2009
Toys“R”Us, Inc. Expands Support of Autism Speaks
Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund have increased their support of Autism Speaks. This year, more than 260 Babies“R”Us locations nationwide will join Toys“R”Us stores in a nine-week in-store fundraising campaign to coincide with Autism Awareness Month in April. To kick off the 2009 partnership, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund also awarded Autism Speaks a $400,000 grant. Since the partnership began in 2007, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, Toys“R”Us, Inc. and customer donations have combined to provide Autism Speaks with more than $3.7 million. Read more.
2008 “Top Ten” List of Events in Autism Research Released
To document the progress made toward our mission to discover the causes and treatment for autism spectrum disorders, Autism Speaks’ Science Program has compiled a list of the most important research events to have impacted autism in 2008. This year’s list contains several surprising results from metabolism, immunology, brain development and treatment research, together with advances in translational research, clinical trials and DNA technology that have all combined to shape the direction of autism research for 2009 and beyond. Read more.
Autism Speaks Website Now Offers More Ways to Make a Difference
Recently, Autism Speaks unveiled its new website home page. The re-design retains the news and information features of the old homepage but now offers greater choice in making contributions and directing them toward particular areas, such as Science or Family Services. Monthly contributions are another new offering. It is only through all of your efforts and generous contributions and participation that we are able to continue to fund autism research, awareness, advocacy and family services. Read more.
IACC Discusses Vaccine Safety
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) met this week to discuss the NIH strategic plan for autism research and, more specifically, the removal of two objectives on vaccine safety research that were withdrawn from the plan at the last meeting.
Because of the manner in which the objectives were withdrawn, Autism Speaks had previously voiced its disappointment and withdrew its support from the strategic plan.
The IACC heard presentations from Mark Noble, Ph.D., a scientist from the University of Rochester Medical Center, who provided an analysis of published studies on thimerosal and Bruce Gellin, M.D., M.P.H., director of the federal government’s National Vaccine Program Office.
During the public comments section of the meeting, Peter Bell, Autism Speaks’ Executive Vice President for Programs and Services, read a statement.Read more.
Five States Introduce Autism Insurance Reform Bills
Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, and New Mexico have all joined the growing list of states with autism insurance reform bills introduced in their state legislatures. There are currently 14 bills supported and endorsed by Autism Speaks that require private insurance companies to provide coverage of medically necessary, evidence-based autism therapies, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). For more information and to take action on these bills, click the following links: Kentucky – House Bill 190; Maryland – House Bill 273; Minnesota – HF 359, SF 312; Montana – Senate Bill 234; and New Mexico – Senate Bill 39.
IAN Launches Vaccine Survey
The Interactive Autism Network (IAN) has launched a VaccineQuestionnaire. The online survey gives families participating in the IAN Research project an opportunity to share their beliefs and practices with regard to vaccinations. This information will provide researchers with an opportunity to study both what families believe and what decisions they are making based on those beliefs. Based on what is learned from families’ responses, researchers will be able to plan and conduct additional vaccine-focused studies. Read more about the IAN Vaccine Questionnaire. Join IAN Research to participate in the survey.
Autism Speaks Featured Volunteer: Karen Barbarics
Lehigh Valley Walk Chair Karen Barbarics was honored by her employer, Gap Inc., with an “Exceed” award for outstanding service and leadership. Karen, the mother of two sons with autism and a Gap manager, started the Lehigh ValleyWalk in 2007, which has since raised more than $800,000. In 2008, she successfully recruited more than 100 Gap employees to volunteer for the Walk, raising funds as walkers and securing gift matches from Gap for their personal donations. Read more.
Follow Autism Speaks on Twitter
Are you curious what Autism Speaks is doing now? Wondering what the latest breaking news is at Autism Speaks? Follow Autism Speaks on Twitter to receive updates. Twitter is a social networking application which allows you stay connected to friends, family members and now, Autism Speaks. Learn how to follow Autism Speaks on Twitter here.
In Their Own Words: The Little Professors
In our latest “In Their Own Words” essay, a high school student shares an essay she wrote in the eighth grade to explain to her teachers some of the challenges associated with living with autism. She wanted to prepare them for what was to come when her identical twin brothers (living with ASD) became their students. Read more.
Feb. 6: Cumberland Tri-State Walk Now for Autism Kick-off (Cumberland, Md.)
Feb. 7: Lehigh Valley Walk Now for Autism Kick-off (Allentown, Penn.)
Feb. 21: Palm Beach County Walk Now for Autism (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
Feb. 21: Treasure Coast Walk Now for Autism (Jensen Beach, Fla.)
Feb. 22: Miami-Dade Walk Now for Autism (Key Biscayne, Fla.)
Feb. 22: Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Kick-off (El Segundo, Calif.)
Mar. 1: Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Kick-off (Glendale, Calif.)
Spring Walk Now for Autism events begin on February 21, 2009.
Find a Walk near you!