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Easter Seals Celebrates World Autism Awareness Day With Campaign to Highlight Nationwide Services Available to Families Living With Autism Today

NEW YORK, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Easter Seals is shining the spotlight on its services for individuals living with autism, among the vast array of services the national nonprofit provides for people with disabilities and their loved ones.

Over the last 20 years, Easter Seals has seen a dramatic increase in the number of children and adults with autism the organization serves. Today, as many as one in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism* -- that's a new diagnosis every 20 minutes -- making autism more prevalent than Down syndrome, childhood diabetes, and childhood cancer combined.

"World Autism Awareness Day provides us with an opportunity to help raise awareness about autism services and treatments available to families today and the need for the United States to share what it knows about effective interventions with other countries around the globe," says James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. "There are a number of wonderful organizations researching and seeking a cause and cure for autism. Easter Seals is unique as the nation's leading provider of services and support for children and adults living with autism.

Critical Need for Services

Every family living with a person who has autism faces unique challenges. Early detection and intervention are the essential first steps.

"There is an urgent need for increased funding and services -- especially for adults with autism," adds Williams. "We want to help change all of this and make a difference for families living with autism today."

Autism Is Treatable

While autism is a baffling, lifelong disability, it is treatable.

"People living with autism -- at any age -- are capable of making significant progress through personalized interventions and therapy; and, can and do lead meaningful lives," says Patricia Wright, director, autism services, Easter Seals.

A basic rule for treating autism is the earlier the intervention, the better. If parents are worried their child may have autism, they should follow their instincts, share their concerns with their pediatrician, get a diagnosis, and seek help from service providers such as Easter Seals. Autism is a lifelong spectrum disorder that affects each individual differently and in varying degrees -- getting the right help at the earliest stage of life can help a child gain the skills he or she needs to be successful.

Easter Seals + Autism

More than a generation ago, Easter Seals was front and center during the polio epidemic, working tirelessly to help children and adults with polio gain the skills necessary to live independently. And now, Easter Seals is working nationally to provide help, hope and answers to families living with autism today by delivering personalized services and treatments, as well as advocating in Washington DC to encourage Congress to finance research to improve services and supports for people with autism.

Visit to learn more about autism, find services at an Easter Seals near you, or help Easter Seals change the lives of people living with autism by becoming a donor or volunteer.

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 85 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Support children and adults with disabilities at

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007

SOURCE Easter Seals
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