In less than five years after its founding in 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, Autism Speaks has grown to become the largest organization for autism advocacy in the United States. The efforts of Autism Speaks have made unprecedented progress in raising awareness and funding for autism research, and in providing support for families of individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders.
To this day, autism remains a condition of which the causes are yet undetermined. It is estimated that between 1 and 1.5 million people in the United States are affected by an autism spectrum disorder; 1 in every 110 born affected. Autism is currently the most-rapidly growing developmental disability, at an estimated figure of 10 to 17 percent annual growth. Autism Speaks has been largely successful in raising awareness of this disorder through popular media, appearing on television programs such as Access Hollywood, The View, The Apprentice, and The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch.
Within its first year alone, Autism Speaks raised a record $40 million from donations and fundraisers—including “One Night Only: Concert for Autism Speaks” at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles with Paul Simon and Jerry Seinfeld, the L.A. Celebrity Golf Challenge and the N.Y. Celebrity Golf Challenge—toward autism research.
Since its inception, Autism Speaks has merged with the Autism Coalition for Research and Education and with the National Alliance for Autism Research, and has formed chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom to create an accessible and effective resource for the benefit of individuals and families of individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders. You can help by making a donation, participating in fundraising events in your local community—such as Walk Now for Autism—or by hosting your own fundraiser.