Boston, Mass. — What does autism look like? Millions of commuters in Massachusetts will find out during April – National Autism Awareness Month – thanks to a powerful public awareness campaign that features photos and stories of children with autism as well as important information 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, and is being sponsored by LoJack Corporation and its LoJack SafetyNet service. What Does Autism Look Like? will be launched today at a press conference at 11 a.m. at South Station in Boston.
This year's campaign includes more than 1,000 informational pieces on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system – 125 platform posters in dozens of subway and commuter rail stations, and 900 educational car cards displayed in subway cars and buses. As many as 1.3 million riders use the MBTA each day.
“May Institute and our National Autism Center are committed to increasing public awareness about autism,” said President and CEO Walter P. Christian, Ph.D., ABPP. “We are delighted to partner with LoJack Corporation on this campaign. We know that increased awareness results in earlier diagnosis and treatment – critical components for the future success of children with autism.”
“May Institute is a highly regarded organization,” said John Paul Marosy, General Manager of LoJack SafetyNet. “LoJack is very pleased to support the Institute’s efforts to generate awareness of autism and other cognitive conditions through this campaign.”
Families whose children are highlighted in the campaign will be honored during the press conference for their contributions to the Institute’s awareness efforts. State Representative Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) and various other legislators will recognize the families and present them with citations from the state.
“The prevalence of autism in our state is deeply concerning,” said Representative L’Italien, who serves as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “On both a professional and personal level, I appreciate the efforts of all those involved in working with May Institute to raise awareness and educate the public through this campaign on the MBTA.”
“This is a great partnership and we are excited to be part of an initiative that works to educate the public on autism,” said MBTA General Manager Richard A. Davey. “This outreach effort is a smart way to share such critical information with thousands of customers who ride the T each day.”
Autism is a developmental disability that occurs in at least one in every 110 children. In Massachusetts, nearly 11,000 school-aged children have been diagnosed with autism, a neurological disorder that affects the development of the brain, causing difficulty with communication, learning, and social interaction.
About May Institute and the National Autism Center
May Institute is an award-winning nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and behavioral health needs.
Since its founding 55 years ago, May Institute has evolved into a national network that serves over 25,000 individuals and their families annually. With corporate headquarters in Randolph, Mass., the Institute operates more than 200 service locations in the Northeast, Southeast, and on the West Coast. Four May Institute schools serve children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Another school serves students with brain injury.
In 2005, in response to the tremendous increase in the prevalence of ASD, May Institute founded the National Autism Center. The Center is dedicated to serving children and adolescents with ASD by promoting best practices and offering comprehensive and reliable information to families, practitioners, and communities. In 2009, the Center’s unprecedented multi-year project – the National Standards Project – established a set of standards for effective, research-validated educational and behavioral interventions for children with ASD.
Together, May Institute and the National Autism Center are committed to identifying and applying universal standards for the treatment of autism and to providing care and hope to families throughout the country.
For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.
About LoJack and LoJack SafetyNet
To address the growing need for solutions that help protect children with autism, Down syndrome and other similar conditions, LoJack Corporation offers LoJack SafetyNet in a number of communities in Massachusetts. LoJack SafetyNet is a service that enables law enforcement and other public safety agencies to search for and maximize the safe return of a child who wanders —a life-threatening behavior. Clients wear a bracelet that emits a Radio Frequency signal, which unlike GPS-based systems, operates even if the child wanders into a body of water, dense foliage, or into a concrete garage or steel structure. In addition to a secure client database, in-depth training and certification, LoJack SafetyNet provides Search and Rescue Receivers – which can detect the Radio Frequency signal emitting from the bracelet – at no cost to public safety agencies.
LoJack has launched SafetyNetSource (www.safetynetsource.com), an online information and resource center designed to help caregivers protect children who wander. SafetyNetSource offers compelling content from across the web, access to the SafetyNetSource Twitter feed and YouTube channel, a Facebook page to help caregivers communicate with one another and engage in a community of support, plus a variety of valuable resources for parents and caregivers.
To find out if LoJack SafetyNet is available in your community or for more information about the solution, call (877) 4-FINDTHEM (877-434-6384) or visit www.lojacksafetynet.com.