What is Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is an organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of autistic children and their parents.
The organization promotes educational materials designed for families with autistic members and facilitates scientific research into autism so as to improve the resources and information available to individuals and families working with autistic children and adults.
Autism Speaks makes connections and partnerships with individuals, companies, organizations, and other entities in an effort to increase understanding and acceptance of autistic individuals, encourage groundbreaking research, and develop more effective, valuable educational materials for both autistic individuals and their families.
They also have made it their mission to help autistic children transition into adulthood more comfortably, meanwhile funding and encouraging efforts toward early childhood autism screening and treatment.
The Next 10 Vision is currently one of the main driving factors in the Autism Speaks mission. This is a set of goals that the organization hopes to achieve within the next 10 years. The goals are to:
- Obtain a clearer perspective on the causes and typology of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Be able to diagnose autistic children before the age of 2
- Give autistic children and their families ample access to interventions, services, and resources after diagnosis
- Provide more effective treatment of ASD pathology as well as of the common conditions that go along with the diagnosis
- Develop practical, easily implemented strategies to help autistic children transition into adulthood and become as independent as possible
- Ensure that individuals along the autism spectrum have access to supportive resources, information, and services throughout their lifetime
The Autism Speaks organization offers grants for research and autism-related service programs. They also may provide limited grant funding to families or individuals who have been severely affected by a negative life event or natural disaster. These grants fund various autism programs across the United States and other countries to make life-changing discoveries possible and accessible to the general public.
In addition, Autism Speaks members contribute to numerous research programs. These research programs include the MSSNG program, the Global Autism Public Health program, and the Autism Treatment Network (ATN), among others. Research fellowships are also available through Autism Speaks for individuals who wish to contribute in a more hands-on way to the organization.
The Georgia Chapter of Autism Speaks
The Georgia chapter of Autism Speaks is located in Atlanta and serves the entire autism community in Georgia. The staff members at Autism Speaks Georgia are responsible for managing events, resources, research, and grantmaking in the state of Georgia. You can contact Autism Speaks Georgia at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can communicate with any of the staff members for this branch. Contact information for the Autism Speaks Georgia staff members is listed below:
Kimberly Dick – Executive Director
- Kimberly Dick has been a part of the Autism Speaks Georgia team since January 2016. She is also the executive director of the Tennessee branch of Autism Speaks, and she has been a participating member of Autism Speaks for over 10 years. She initially started working as a volunteer for the organization after her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and then eventually progressed in the organization until she reached the higher level of executive director.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (470) 377-7963
Kaitlyn Morris – Senior Manager, Field Development
- Kaitlyn Morris has been working at Autism Speaks Georgia for almost 8 years. She started as a senior coordinator and progressed upward to become the senior manager and field development manager of the Autism Speaks Georgia branch. Prior to her work with Autism Speaks, Morris was an event coordinator in the Greater Atlanta Area.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (470) 377-7964
Janet Williams – Director, Community Outreach
- Janet William started working as an Autism Speaks volunteer in 2015 after her 11-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. Shortly after starting to volunteer, Williams was promoted to be the Walk Chair for the Atlanta Walk. In 2017, she was hired to be the community outreach manager and director of the Autism Speaks Georgia branch.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (470) 377-7966
The Autism Speaks Georgia headquarters is located at the following address:
Autism Speaks Inc.
900 Circle 75 Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30339
Work that Autism Speaks Has Done in the Atlanta Area
Autism Speaks is very active in the Atlanta area and in Georgia. Some of the efforts that the organization has made in Atlanta are listed below:
- “Blue Blessings” Initiative – A program designed to encourage faith-based communities to come together to provide support and acceptance of autistic individuals in Atlanta. This initiative encompasses all faiths present in Atlanta and Georgia.
- Support of the Black and Hispanic communities – Autism Speaks Georgia places an emphasis on diagnosing, treating, supporting, and including minority autistic children and their families in the community.
- Individualized Educational Programs (IEP) – This Autism Speaks initiative is intended to help educators and parents provide high quality education to autistic children of all ages. Autistic children learn differently, so the IEP program is designed to support the healthy education of these children.
- Support of local autism-related programs – Autism Speaks provides financial and educational support to various autism-related programs in Atlanta. For example, the organization supports the ACEing Autism Tennis Program.
- Educational webinars and online events for Georgia residents
- In-person seminars and meet-ups for individuals with autism and families who have an autistic member (for example, the CSULB Community Conversations event)
- Atlanta Walk autism fundraising and awareness event (more information below)
- The Autism Speaks Autism Response Team (ART) – This online or in-person medium is designed to help autistic individuals and their families quickly find resources, tools, information, and community events.
Autism Speaks Atlanta Walk
The Autism Speaks Atlanta Walk is a well-known, popular fundraising event that brings awareness to autism while also promoting community involvement in the support of autistic individuals and their families. People who sign up to walk are growing funds that go toward autism research, support, and educational facilities. The distance that walkers will go in the Atlanta Walk is 1.54 miles, which is representative of the 1:54 ratio of children who are on the autism spectrum to those who are not.
Participants are encouraged to post pictures of themselves on social media and to tag Autism Speaks with the tag @AutismSpeaks, @AutismSpeaksGA, or #AutismSpeaksWalk. People who are doing the walk may go individually or they may get together a group to go with. The more people who walk, the more awareness is raised to support the Autism Speaks mission and autistic children and adults everywhere!
Each year, a donation goal is set. In 2020, the goal was $652,000. This is one of the primary fundraising projects that Autism Speaks puts on each year, and it is also one of the most lucrative for the organization. Almost half a billion dollars have been raised in the past and put into research initiatives and programs to increase understanding and acceptance of autism worldwide.
If you can’t walk, you can make donations to support the Atlanta Walk instead. You can download the Atlanta Walk app to your smartphone to upload checks, or you can mail your donation to the following address:
P.O. Box 199
Rocky Hill, NJ 08553-0199