NAVIGATION

“What Does Autism Look Like?” – Local Kids Promote Autism Awareness on the MBTA

04/1/11

Randolph, Mass. – What does autism look like? Millions of commuters in Massachusetts will find out during April – National Autism Awareness Month – thanks to the return of a powerful public awareness campaign that puts a human face on the disorder. It does so through beautiful photographs, compelling stories of children and adolescents with autism, and critical facts about the disorder.

The campaign – “What Does Autism Look Like?” – was created by May Institute, a national nonprofit organization that serves individuals with autism and other special needs. This year’s expanded campaign includes nearly 1,500 informational pieces displayed in subway stations and on subway cars, buses, and commuter trains across the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system. (Click here to view related video.)

“May Institute is committed to increasing public awareness about autism and to educating communities about the facts of the disorder.” said President and CEO Walter P. Christian, Ph.D., ABPP. “We know that increased awareness results in earlier diagnosis and treatment – critical components for the future success of children with autism.”

This year the campaign showcases four new faces among the nine children, adolescents, and young adults featured. They range in age from four to 20, and are from communities across Massachusetts. They are representative of the diversity of autism, which occurs in all races, ethnicities, and social groups.

“Each year that we’ve done this campaign – and this is our third year – we have had an outpouring of response from the public,” said Eileen Pollack, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at May Institute. “These children, and their personal messages, really resonate for people. We are so grateful to these families whose courage and generosity allow us to share glimpses into their children’s lives. They are helping to broaden the public’s understanding of autism.”

For Michael and Suzanne, the parents of 12-year-old Matthew, the campaign provides their son with a special opportunity. “Matthew has always had the ability to draw people into his life – to communicate love, happiness, and caring for others. Being one of the faces of this campaign gives him the opportunity to shine as an educator about those who share his special traits.”

About Autism
Autism is a developmental disability that occurs in at least one in every 110 children. It is a neurological disorder that affects the development of the brain, causing difficulty with communication, learning and social interaction. Autism is one of several autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that include Asperger’s Syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). In Massachusetts, nearly 12,000 school-aged children have been diagnosed with autism.

About May Institute
May Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and other behavioral health needs. Since its founding more than 55 years ago, May Institute has evolved into an award-winning national network that serves thousands of individuals and their families annually. For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.

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May Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, sex/gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, marital status, socioeconomic status, homelessness, or any other category protected under applicable law in treatment or employment at the Institute, admission or access to the Institute, or any other aspect of the educational programs and activities that the Institute operates. The Institute is required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (Age Act), and their respective implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Parts 100, 104, 106 and 110, not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin (Title VI); disability (Section 504); sex (Title IX); or age (Age Act). Inquiries concerning the application of each of these statutes and their implementing regulations to the Institute may be referred to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at (617) 289-0111 or 5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02109-3921, or to Terese Brennan - Compliance Officer, at 1-888-664-9870 or Compliance@mayinstitute.org or May Institute 14 Pacella Park Drive, Randolph, MA 02368.