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Mission Statement

At Autism Speaks, our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.

We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to our concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. It is our firm belief that, working together, we will find the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Autism Speaks. It's time to listen.


Autism Speaks is enormously thankful to our many donors - individuals, families, corporations, and foundations - that combined contributed in excess of $50 million in 2010. As shown in the chart below, seventy percent of those dollars went directly to fund Autism Speaks’ program services composed of its four core mission areas: science, awareness, family services and advocacy.

Below are just a few of our 2010 accomplishments. (For a more complete recap of our achievements, Autism Speaks’ 2010 Annual Report, including our fully audited financial statements, is available at autismspeaks.org.)

  • An evaluation was conducted on the first 107 Autism Speaks science grants that were completed by the summer of 2010. Eighty-two percent were judged to have provided novel discoveries that break new ground in autism research, 13% were judged to have extended previous findings and only 5% were considered to have negative results. (The complete results of the evaluation are available in the science section of autismspeaks.org.)
  • The grants were also evaluated from another perspective: What type of impact on people's lives did the research have? Our science portfolio encompasses addressing what causes autism, what occurs in the body that translates into autism, how can autism be diagnosed, how can autism be treated and how can we make sure the full autism community knows what was learned.Below is a breakdown of those 107 grants by assessment, diagnosis, treatment and dissemination.
    • Beyond statistics, below are a few examples of Autism Speaks funded research which yielded significant milestones in addressing the complexities of autism.
      • The Autism Genome Project (AGP), an Autism Speaks co-funded international research consortium, together with the Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), identified several new risk genes, implicating new biological pathways that point to new research directions and development of novel therapeutics. The AGP project also identified gene mutations that begin to explain the male to female sex bias in autism.
      • Autism Speaks-funded researchers at Boston University, using brain tissues provided by the Autism Speaks’ Autism Tissue Program, showed evidence of over-connectivity between neighboring areas of the frontal cortex and long-range under-connectivity between more distant areas.
      • Other Autism Speaks funded studies revealed that children with autism have more trouble fueling the energy demands of their cells due to dysfunctional mitochondria and that both innate and adaptive alterations in immune system functioning increase risk for ASD.
    • In 2010, Autism Speaks expanded its funding of the Autism Treatment Network, now including 17 children’s hospitals and academic medical centers in U.S. and Canada. The physicians and other clinicians are developing empirically-based guidelines for medical care of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

    Autism Speaks also focuses on awareness, family services and advocacy.

    • Autism Speaks’ award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council generated over $258 million in donated media since its inception. In 2010, Autism Speaks’ campaign was the Number One Ad Council campaign in donated media, among more than 60 active campaigns. This campaign was augmented by the first ever "Light It Up Blue" campaign to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. Awareness of the growing autism global health crisis continues to skyrocket.
    • In 2010, Autism Speaks greatly expanded its community service efforts, awarding Family Service Community Grants totaling $1.5 million. These grants provide funding to build the field of services for individuals with autism and expand the capacity to effectively serve the autism community. Forty-three organizations were awarded community grants in the U.S. and 26 organizations in Canada. (Canadian operations are not included in Autism Speaks’ US tax return.) Programs were funded in the areas of education, recreation and community activities, and young adults and adult services. Grants were also awarded to summer camps so that financially disadvantaged individuals with autism may attend. The program provided funding to more than 330 campers at 51 camps. Autism Speaks also manages AutismCares, a group of several autism organizations that provide funds to families affected by autism to cover costs associated with critical living expenses or to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes. In 2010 AutismCares awarded $41,000 to 79 families in 26 states. Since Fall 2007, Autism Speaks has awarded over $3 million through its community grant programs.
    • At the end of 2010, 23 states had enacted insurance reforms measures (up from one before Autism Speaks was in existence) that require private insurance companies to provide coverage for autism therapies including behavioral health treatments. Through the first six months of 2011, four more states (AR, RI, VA, WV) have enacted insurance reform laws while two additional states (NY, RI) have passed bills in their legislatures and awaits Governor signatures.



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