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The Time to Act for Families is Now -- Will You Act For Autism with Easter Seals?
Date:4/1/2009

Celebrate Autism Awareness Month and Change the Lives of Children and Adults Living with Autism

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) April 1, 2009 -- As the nation's largest non-profit provider of autism services, Easter Seals believes every individual with autism, their family members and professionals should have access to a continuum of appropriate autism resources and receive necessary services, supports and guidance at every life stage.

"We're doing our best," said James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. "However, we know that current systems, structures and resources to help people with autism do not adequately meet the growing need as research and service provision is sparse, funding is inadequate, unemployment persists and general knowledge and understanding gaps prevail."

Since the launch of its Living with Autism Study in December 2008, Easter Seals has been using the results to raise awareness of and advocate for the life-long services people living with autism and their families desperately need. And, now, during April's Autism Awareness Month, Easter Seals is asking everyone to Act for Autism.

Communities in Action for Autism:
The national study pinpoints critical issues facing families living with autism, shining the spotlight on their concerns for the future. The results quantify the daily challenges, fears and deep disparities among parents of children with autism as compared to parents of typically developing children.

"The study findings arm Easter Seals and others in the autism community with new information to better share our stories of help, hope and answers--while conveying hundreds of families' most urgent needs around their child's future independence, finances, employment, housing, health and personal relationships," said Dr. Patricia Wright, Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals. To respond, Easter Seals created Act for Autism, a campaign to make sure such critical services become a reality for families living with autism--and help turn parents' dreams for their child's future from fearful to hopeful.

Easter Seals aims to bring communities together in action for autism, joining individuals with autism and their families, autism organizations, institutions of higher learning, medical and clinical experts, public policy influencers, corporate partners, other non-profit organizations and the general public to work collaboratively to deliver better services for children and adults with autism, provide access to vital information and resources, and develop new evidence-based treatments and technologies.

How to Act for Autism:
You can begin to Act for Autism by visiting www.actforautism.org to learn more, find local services, volunteer and contribute to support Easter Seals autism services. Log on to show your support of families living with autism and make sure children and adults with autism receive the personalized treatment they need to thrive:

- Participate: This year, Easter Seals, along with its partners the Autism Society of America (ASA) and MassMutual, is hosting a series of Autism Community Forums in cities across the country to provide families with a variety of local solutions, from information on available autism resources, treatments and services to financial planning advice and counsel.

- Donate: Easter Seals is passionate about providing quality services for all families, regardless of their ability to pay, at a time when health care costs continue to grow. But we need more resources to help more people. That's why Easter Seals depends upon the generosity and compassion of many people. Often insurance companies do not cover treatment and services for people living with autism.

- Educate: Be inspired by what is possible for children and adults living with autism. Visit actforautism.org to meet families like the Gaithers, who know that early diagnosis and personalized treatment was the key for their son Scottie to play on his youth soccer team and do well in school. Or the Snells, who know autism is treatable, and individuals with autism can, and do, lead meaningful lives--just like their son, Maurice, who is 25-years-old, a college graduate and employed in a job he loves. Or of countless others who find glimpses of hope in the small steps and incremental progress achieved through hard work and treatment.

And, join the autism conversation by sharing your viewpoints, feelings, and experiences through Easter Seals' blog (http://autismblog.easterseals.com) as well as through other autism-focused web sites and online communities. Sign up to receive updates on events, the latest autism headlines and issues from your trusted sites.

- Advocate: Keep a pulse on what's happening in Washington, D.C., your state and local community regarding autism legislation and use Easter Seals and ASA's State Autism Profiles on actforautism.org. Become a more informed advocate for autism. Sign up to get timely legislative action alerts and learn how to contact your legislators to make your voice heard.

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 nearly 90 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 www.easterseals.com or www.actforautism.org.

Contacts:
Kristen Barnfield, Easter Seals
P: 312.551.7147

Becky Offill, Easter Seals
P: 708.253.7436

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/autism_services/treatment/prweb2290814.htm.


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