SOURCE: Autism United

June 12, 2007 10:53 ET

Autism Groups Unite to Fight for Research and Services

LONG ISLAND, NY--(Marketwire - June 12, 2007) - Autism United, a new national coalition, has been formed to bring together many individual organizations into a cohesive force to fight the autism epidemic. Providing much needed local services and resources for promising but under-funded research will be the new group's primary mission. As a coalition, Autism United's joint organizations will retain their unique identity while working together for common goals.

Autism United will launch its fundraising operation with an inaugural walk on September 30 at Belmont Lake State Park in Babylon, New York. Proceeds from the walk will fund two initial projects, the creation of the Harvey Weisenberg Resource Center, and a comprehensive study to provide an accurate count of the number of people with autism living on Long Island.

The model of supporting local services and research of national importance will be replicated nationwide. Plans are underway for similar events in other areas of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia and Oklahoma.

"Autism United is a grassroots organization formed by parents for parents to assist families, and fund research and services," said co-founder Evelyn Ain, "A large portion of the funds will be kept in the local community to keep this grassroots organization grassrooted," says Ain.

The Harvey Weisenberg Center is named in honor of Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg, who has long been recognized as the leading advocate in New York state government for people with disabilities.

The first research project will be a study to measure the incidence of autism on Long Island. "We know the number of kids with an autism diagnosis has been going up by 10 to 15 percent every year since they began keeping records," said Robert Krakow, a co-founder of Autism United and Board Chairman of Lifespire, a New York City-based non-profit that provides housing and services for cognitively disabled adults. "We also know that there are large gaps in the data and it is impossible to plan for the future or make rational resource allocation decisions if we don't know how many people are affected."

The founding organizations behind Autism United on Long Island include A-CHAMP, Developmental Disabilities Institute, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Lifespire, the Long Island Autism Conference, the Long Island chapter of the National Autism Association, and the Nassau/Suffolk chapter of the Autism Society of America. Spectrum Publications is the media sponsor.

More information about Autism United and the fundraising walk can be found at www.autismunited.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    John Gilmore
    (516) 933-4050