Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Their longtime friend Bernie Marcus donated $25 million to help financially launch the organisation. Since then, Autism Speaks has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organisation, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. The organisation increases awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
In 2013, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD: Autism spectrum disorder. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, maths and art.
Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. The Autism Speaks organisation continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which families and volunteers play an invaluable role.
Lawrence Brownlee writes:
As many of you know, my six-year-old son Caleb was diagnosed with Autism as a child, and while he is doing fantastically, I still believe it’s important to raise awareness and research funds for Autism. My amazing father-in-law Kenny Wilson is going to do a Half-Ironman (1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run) in order to raise money for Autism Speaks, and I’d like to help!
Following Kenny’s remarkable example, I’ve been working to lose weight this year – 30 pounds down already, and 15 more to go! For the month of September, I’m going to go through The Whole30 diet plan, and I’d love to have your support!
I’m asking you to pledge to donate to Kenny for every pound I lose in September – if you pledge $5 per pound and I lose 5 pounds, then that’s $25 to Autism research! You can join by filling out the form, and then following my progress on my Facebook Page.
Thanks so much for your support, and I’ll see you at the gym!
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.