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Award-Winning Campaign Asks, "Does Someone You Love Have Autism?"

May Institute Launches Autism Awareness Initiative

RANDOLPH, Mass., April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Does someone you love have autism? May Institute, a national nonprofit organization, will ask that question to hundreds of thousands of people during April, National Autism Awareness Month. May Institute provides critical services, and access to services, for children and adults with autism and other special needs throughout the country.

In Massachusetts, where as many as 16,000 children and adolescents have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), May Institute is launching its powerful public awareness campaign today – World Autism Awareness Day – on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The organization will extend the campaign, now in its sixth year, via its online sites and social media, encouraging others to share their stories and help raise awareness about ASD nationally.

This year's campaign on the MBTA includes more than 1,000 eye-catching posters and car cards featuring the faces of six young people with autism alongside messages from loved ones, and contact information for those seeking help. These posters and cards will be displayed in subway stations and on subway cars, buses, and commuter trains across the MBTA system.

Thousands of daily commuters will also be able to see the campaign's images and messages on the MBTA's digital screens at high traffic stations. May Institute estimates that nearly 1.3 million commuters will have the opportunity to access the campaign every day during the month of April.

"In light of the new statistics released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, placing the prevalence rate of autism at one in 68 children, it is more critical than ever to get credible information about effective, evidence-based treatment options into the hands of families, so they can make well-informed decisions," says Hanna Rue, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Executive Director of the National Autism Center, a program of May Institute. "Our awareness campaign on the MBTA is helping us do just that."

"The campaign enables us to share, in a very personal way, how autism affects the lives of children and families," adds Lauren C. Solotar, Ph.D., ABPP, May Institute President and CEO. "We are so grateful to these families whose courage and generosity allow us glimpses into their children's lives. We hope this campaign encourages dialogue here and throughout the country, to help us broaden the public's understanding of autism."

About Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that occurs in one in every 68 children. It affects the development of the brain, causing difficulty with communication, learning, and social interaction.

About May Institute
May Institute is a national nonprofit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities, brain injury, cognitive disabilities, and behavioral needs. The Institute also provides training and consultation services to professionals, organizations, and public school systems. At more than 160 service locations across the country, Institute staff work to create new and more effective ways to meet the special needs of individuals and families across the lifespan.

The National Autism Center is May Institute's Center for the Promotion of Evidence-based Practice. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and adolescents with ASD by providing reliable information, promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive resources for families, practitioners, and communities.

For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.

SOURCE May Institute

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