SOURCE: The Help Group

April 23, 2008 20:14 ET

An ABC7 Special -- "Autism Heroes" to Air Saturday, April 26th

Desperate Housewives and West Wing Star Gary Cole, Wife Teddi and Other Parents Speak Openly About Autism and Finding Hope

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - On Saturday, April 26, at 6:30p.m. (PDT), ABC7, the number one station in Los Angeles, in association with The Help Group, will present a powerful one-hour television special based on the book "Autism Heroes: Portraits of Families Meeting the Challenge" by Dr. Barbara Firestone, with photography by Joe Buissink. Dr. Firestone is President & CEO, The Help Group and Vice Chair, CA Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. The special features ABC7 anchors Michelle Tuzee, Phillip Palmer and Jovana Lara. The book, embraced by many in the autism community as a "compelling," "honest" and "hopeful" account of the experiences of 38 families confronting the challenges of autism, has been sensitively adapted for television by ABC7.

"Autism Heroes" features the very personal stories of some of the families featured in the book. These families are from all walks of life with children of all ages with all forms and degrees of autism. In their own words, the parents share their challenges, their triumphs, their hopes and their wisdom to support others on the journey. It also speaks to the changing landscape of autism -- the new era of hope fueled by increasing awareness, expanding research, early identification and intervention, the call for greater education and treatment opportunities and public policy reform. Actor Gary Cole, The Help Group National Celebrity Spokesperson, and his wife Teddi actively advocate in the public arena on behalf of all children with autism and their families. Gary recalls that, "As soon as we started to get information, it got better; more information equals less fear."

"We invite viewers to meet these remarkable families," says Dr. Firestone. "With sensitivity and openness, they have shared their experiences so that other families may derive strength and support from their insights. They speak of the meaning of dignity, hope, opportunity and love in their lives."

"ABC7 is proud to be associated with The Help Group on this special program," said Arnold J. Kleiner, President and General Manager of ABC7. "This is part of our commitment to the people of Southern California to provide essential information on a very topical issue."

For more information about "Autism Heroes," please visit: and All author royalties from sales of the book "Autism Heroes" are being donated to The Help Group in support of its autism efforts.

ABC7, an ABC Owned Television Station, is the number one station in Southern California. ABC7 was the first station in Los Angeles to broadcast their news in HD.

Founded in 1975, The Help Group serves children with a wide range of special needs and is the largest and most comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States. Recognized as a leader in the field of autism, it offers extensive special education, therapy and assessment services. The Help Group educates over 750 students on a daily basis in its five innovative autism day schools. Through its public awareness and outreach programs, graduate and postgraduate professional training, parent education programs and efforts at the state and national levels, The Help Group touches the lives of children with special needs across the United States and in other parts of the world.

Contact Information

    Therese Gamba
    VP, Programming, Advertising and Promotion, ABC7
    (818) 863-7266
    Email Contact

    Lisa Manafian
    Communications Director, The Help Group
    (818) 779-5327
    Email Contact