May Institute Promotes Autism Awareness on the MBTA
– Does someone you love have autism? With autism rates that may be as high as one in 50 for U.S. school children, more and more families across the country do have a loved one with autism.
Here in Massachusetts, where more than 13,000 school-aged children have been diagnosed, May Institute is launching a powerful public awareness campaign today – World Autism Awareness Day – on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The campaign will run throughout the month of April which is National Autism Awareness Month.
May Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral health services to individuals with autism and other special needs.
This year’s campaign, the fifth one in as many years, asks the question, “Does someone you love have autism?” It includes hundreds of eye-catching posters and car cards featuring the faces of six young people with autism along with messages from their families and contact information for those seeking help. These posters and cards will be displayed in subway stations and on subway cars, buses, and commuter trains across the MBTA system.
Thousands of daily commuters will also be able to see the campaign’s photos and messages on the MBTA’s new digital screens at high traffic stations in Boston and Cambridge. The Institute estimates that nearly 1.3 million commuters will have the opportunity to learn more about autism every day during the month of April.
“Our awareness campaign has enabled us to give the public an inside look at autism,” says May President and CEO Lauren C. Solotar, Ph.D. “Through the years, these campaigns have been well received, and we are grateful to all of the families of the children and young adults who have shared their personal messages.”
“With the dramatic increase in the prevalence of autism over the past decade, it is critically important that we promote early diagnosis and get credible information about effective, evidence-based treatment options into the hands of families so they can make well informed decisions,” says Hanna Rue, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Executive Director of the National Autism Center, a program of May Institute. “The awareness campaign on the MBTA is helping us do just that.”
Autism is a developmental disability that occurs in one in every 88 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).
About May Institute
May Institute is a national nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, cognitive disabilities, and behavioral needs. The Institute also provides training and consultation services to professionals, organizations, and public school systems. At nearly 200 service locations across the country, Institute staff members work to create new and more effective ways to meet the special needs of individuals and families across the lifespan.
For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.