April 1st kicks off World Autism Awareness month, and Autism Speaks (the nation’s largest advocacy organization) will be hosting WALK NOW FOR AUTISM SPEAKS on April 18th at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. 55K people are expected to participate in North America’s largest grassroots autism walk.
Sadly, autism is an epidemic in the United States with one of every 68 children diagnosed on the spectrum with no cure in sight.
Available to talk about this epidemic and the April 18th walk are actor Ed Asner and his son Mathew Asner, Autism Speaks’ director of corporate development. Ed and Mathew both have autistic sons and understand the unique and difficult challenges faced by families.
Also available for inspirational interviews are:
– Jennifer Jones (Tustin), director of field development for Autism Speaks. Jennifer has an autistic son, Dylan, aged 15, and left her executive job at Walt Disney to spread autism awareness. Given the recent controversy over childhood vaccinations, Jennifer is a wealth of information for your readers.
– Forrest Lesak (South Pasadena), a 17-year-old whose journey to adulthood started with no language skills. His mom Kim has many heartwarming stories about the challenges he has had to overcome.
– Erin Ryan‘s 15-year-old son Nicholas (Laguna Niguel) was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive, autism, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder; but now at 15, he has a routine life.
– Mark and Eva Woodsmall’s 14-year-old son Andrew (San Marino) was diagnosed with autism at age 3. They have created the Woodsmall Law Group to represent matters related to rights of individuals with special needs, as well as founding the Spero Vineyards Program, the first winery-based vocational training program for young adults affected by developmental disabilities.
– Jennifer Dorkin (Costa Mesa) is a Special-Ed teacher and dedicated advocate for people with disabilities. She herself has survived Chiari Malformation, leukemia, seven brain surgeries, a coma and other serious illnesses.
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