Autism Speaks Inc

Organization's name: Autism Speaks Inc
Headquarters address  
Address: 1 East 33rd Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10016
United States of America
Phone: 212 252 8584
Fax: 212 252 8676
Web site:
Organization type: Non-governmental organization
  • English


Areas of expertise & Fields of activity:
Economic and Social:
  • Children
  • Disabled Persons
  • Education
  • Family
  • Human Rights
  • Humanitarian Affairs
  • Social Development
  • Sustainable Development
  • Technical Cooperation
  • Women
  • Youth

Gender Issues and Advancement of Women:
  • Advocacy and outreach
  • Capacity building
  • Education and training of women
  • Human rights of women
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Men and boys
  • Policy advice
  • Research
  • Service provision
  • Women and health

  • Reproduction, family formation and the status of women

Public Administration:
  • Public Service and Management Innovation

Social Development:
  • Disabled persons
  • Information and Communications Technologies
  • Social policy
  • Technical cooperation
  • Youth

  • Demographic and social surveys
  • Disability Statistics
  • International Comparison Programme
  • Methodological publications in statistics
  • Services Statistics

Sustainable Development:
  • Biotechnology
  • Capacity-building
  • Demographics
  • Disaster management and vulnerability
  • Education
  • Health
  • Information for decision-making and participation
  • Integrated decision-making
  • International cooperation for an enabling environment
  • Partnerships
  • Science
  • Sustainable development for Africa
  • Sustainable development in a globalizing world
  • Technology
Geographic scope: International
Country of activity:
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Argentina
  • Philippines
  • Panama
  • Netherlands
  • Israel
  • Cameroon
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Cyprus
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • Qatar
  • Hungary
  • Saint Lucia
  • Oman
  • North Macedonia
  • Bangladesh
  • Norway
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United States of America
  • Lesotho
  • Romania
  • Chile
  • Albania
  • Canada
  • Czechia
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
  • Serbia
  • India
  • Montenegro
  • China
  • Maldives
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Republic of Korea
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Croatia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • Finland
Millennium Development Goals:
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Improve maternal health
  • Develop global partnership for development
Mission statement:
Year established (YYYY): 2005
Year of registration (YYYY): 2005
Organizational structure: Autism Speaks Inc has a staff of 192 employees across the United States and Canada. The organization was founded by Bob and Suzanne Wright and they preside as Co-founders of the organization. Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks Inc, has seven executive staff members that report directly to him including: Peter Bell - Executive Vice President, Programs & Services Jennifer Bizub - National Director, Human Resources Geri Dawson - Chief Science Officer Tom Hetzel - Chief Financial Officer Cathy Kanefsky - Vice President, Field & Chapter Development Pat Kemp - Executive Vice President, Marketing, Corporate Relations, and Development Dana Marnane - Vice President, Awareness & Events. All other employees report to the aforementioned executive staff. According to its by-laws, the purpose of Autism Speaks Inc is to aggressively fund global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism; to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society; and to raise the funds necessary to support the foregoing.
Number and type of members: Autism Speaks Inc has no members.
Affiliation with NGO networks: Autism Speaks Inc has been an affiliated NGO with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) since 2008.
Funding structure:
  • Donations and grants from domestic sources
  • Foreign and international grants
Funding structure other: Autism Speaks Inc obtains financial support from the general public via walks, special/community events, general contributions and government grants. 63% of our funding is from Individuals; 32% from Corporations/Foundations & 5% from Government Contracts.

Additional Information

Social Development

Affiliation with other organizations: Autism Speaks is proud of its efforts to bring the global autism community together as one strong voice. We can't do this alone, which is why we are proud of our partnerships across all sectors. The four cornerstones of our mission are awareness, science, advocacy and family services and in each of these priorities we work with other non-profit organizations, research institutions and hospitals, corporations, governments and local stakeholders. To increase autism awareness, Autism Speaks has been partnered with the Advertising Council since 2006 to raise awareness of the prevalence of autism, encouraging the public to learn the signs of autism and get early intervention. In celebration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), Autism Speaks collaborates with autism organizations around the globe to celebrate the day, including: the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs in Qatar; Autism Europe; Autismo e Realidade in Brazil; Action for Autism in India; Irish Autism Action in Ireland; Autism Awareness in Australia; and so many more. In addition, Autism Speaks joins the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) to advocate and celebrate WAAD annually. Autism Speaks works closely with research institutions, governmental organizations, universities, hospitals and more around the world to facilitate biomedical research into autism. Current institutions that Autism Speaks works with to facilitate these efforts include: Albanian Children’s Fund in Tirana, Albania; Irish Autism Action in Ireland; Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs in Qatar; Mexican Autism Clinic (CLIMA), Mexico; Autism Hearts Foundation in the Philippines; Fundacion Autismo Aruba; Autism e Realidade in Brazil; Autism South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal University in South Africa; Asperger’s Society of Japan and JDDNET in Japan; and the Rain & Star Foundation in China. In 2010, Autism Speaks launched partnerships with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and co-sponsored autism conferences and events in New York, Serbia, Bangladesh and Albania. Autism Speaks co-funds projects internationally with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Health Research Board of Ireland. In addition, we work with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to enhance public and professional awareness as well as public health research. Via its "Autism Votes" initiative, Autism Speaks is committed to enacting state-based legislation across the country for coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary care for autism. To date, 26 states have successfully enacted insurance reform with bills pending in an additional 12 states. Our Family Services department partners with local and national autism organizations and parents to provide tool kits and services to families affected by autism. In partnership with First Signs and FIRST WORDS® Project, the Autism Video Glossary is an innovative online tool identifies the early warning signs for autism in an interactive visual way. To serve adults on the autism spectrum, Autism Speaks launched Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) partnering with the following organizations: Alpine Learning Group, The Autism Program of Illinois, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, Easter Seals, Hallmark Community Solutions, Organization for Autism Research, Rethink Autism, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, Trinity Services, Inc. and the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Autism Speaks raises funds by partnering with Corporations including: The Bachman Company, Build-A-Bear, Dollar General, LAMAR Digital Media, Lindt, Nest Fragrances, T.J. Maxx, The Home Depot, Toys“R”Us & Babies "R"Us, Walgreens, White Castle, Zale Corporation, among others.
Publications: E-Speaks: E-newsletter published bi-weekly, overall news of Autism Speaks activities and accomplishments. Autism Speaks Annual Report: June 2009 - published annually. Autism Speaks Year in Review Highlights: 2010 - published annually. State of Autism Science Webinar and Podcast Series: 2011 - Recorded and published monthly. Community Connections: Monthly E-newsletter published by our family services department providing practical tips on dealing with everyday situations, links to local resources, and interviews with experts and families who share their success stories. Family Services 100 Day Kit: First published in 2008, updated in March 2010; is available nationally and internationally. Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit: Published in March 2010; is available nationally and internationally. Family Services Transition Tool Kit: Published February 2011, available nationally and internationally. Family Services Dental Tool Kit: Published June 2010, available nationally and internationally. Family Services Haircutting Training Guide: Published June 2009; available nationally and internationally. Family Services School Community Tool Kit: Published August 2008, available nationally and internationally. Autism video glossary: Online-based tool designed to help parents and professionals learn more about the early red flags and diagnostic features of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Published in 2009, updated regularly.
Activities relevant to the conference of States Parties to the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: In April 2007, Autism Speaks was invited to participate in the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs’ 2nd Annual International Forum, and its focus was on Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), raising public awareness. Autism Speaks presented its Advertising Council awareness campaign, and later an official partnership with Autism Speaks and the Shafallah Center was established as a result. Since 2008, Autism Speaks has worked closely with the office of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and his wife, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, to promote autism awareness on a global level. Each September, Mrs. Ban has been the guest of honor at our annual World Focus on Autism event, which takes place during the week of the opening of the UN General Assembly. At every Autism Speaks event Mrs. Ban has participated in, she has mentioned the importance and relevance of the CRPD to individuals with disabilities, particularly those with autism, and their inclusion into society. Highlights from each of the events are included here: - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 In 2009, Autism Speaks was pleased to promote the CRPD on its website after the United States became the 141st country to sign the convention.
Confirmation of the activities of the organization at the regional, national or international level: Autism Speaks reaches the global autism community at the local, regional, national and international levels with events, online tools, and more. Its website, is visited by over 289,000 people per month. At the local and regional level, the heart and soul of Autism Speaks lies in our Walk Now for Autism Speaks program which is a family Walk and an autism community resource fair which heighten public awareness, provide support, and raise money to fund mission based activities. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. Autism Speaks hosts a variety of annual fundraising and awareness events, including its Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) events in February and August; “Face-Off For A Cure: An Evening to Benefit Autism Speaks and the Gillen Brewer School” in March; “Autism Speaks: A Blue Affair” in April; “Autism Speaks Annual Celebrity Golf Challenge” at Winged Foot in June; “Autism Speaks Fall Classic” at Baltusrol Golf Club in September; “World Focus on Autism” in September; and the “Autism Speaks to Wall Street: Celebrity Chef Gala” in October. The United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated annually on April 2 is a huge jump-start to Autism Awareness Month each April, and is our primary opportunity to bring over 200 autism organizations from around the world together for awareness-raising events. As part of its celebration, Autism Speaks highlights its collaborations with different organizations each year, including the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs in Qatar; Autism Europe; Autismo & Realidade in Brazil; Action for Autism in India; Irish Autism Action in Ireland; Autism Awareness in Australia; and so many more. We highlight the activities for WAAD with the website and work with these organizations to promote their activities in international press. In 2010, Autism Speaks launched its special celebration of World Autism Awareness Day with its Light It Up Blue campaign Working with our international partners, over 1800 structures in 180 cities and 35 countries turned their lights blue to raise awareness of autism in 2011. Autism Votes, an initiative of Autism Speaks, works to change state insurance laws to require private health insurance policies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 26 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 12 states. On an international level, Autism Speaks launched the Global Autism Public Health (GAPH) Initiative in 2008 to increase autism awareness and recognition, service delivery, and research collaboration around the world. To do this we partner with governments, communities, scientists and local stakeholders to support an infrastructure to enhance awareness and capacities for autism services and research. In addition, Autism Speaks science initiatives include: Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE); Autism Treatment Network (ATN); Autism Tissue Program (ATP); Autism Genome Project (AGP); International Autism Epidemiology Network (IAEN); Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC); Toddler Treatment Network (TTN); Autism Clinical Trials Network (ACTN) and the Innovative Technology for Autism (ITA); Environmental Epidemiology Autism Research Network (EEARN). Autism Speaks Family Services initiatives provide families with tools for living with autism on a day-to-day basis. Additional programs include the national resource guide which identifies service providers state-by-state; the Autism Video Glossary, AFAA, the Autism Safety Project, Autism Cares, and Autism in the Workplace.

Other UN Entities

Accreditation with other UN Entities:
  • DPI