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The 2012 Autism Awareness Challenge
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 02 April 2012 00:00

Business of Sports Network Autism Awarness Campaign

 


The challenge… Spread autism awareness, today, and every day. On the first day of International Autism Awareness month, we set aside sports in favor of advocacy.

Autism. You’re living with it. You either have a family member affected by the mental disorder (remember, it’s not a disease), you know someone connected to it, or you’re impacted in the future through impacts to the health care system.

But, make no mistake, you and autism are linked.

This year, autism hits home more than any other. Please see my message and personal fundraiser: A Father and the Cost of Autism

This is the fourth year of our Autism Awareness Challenge. The premise is simple: set sports aside and spread awareness about the Autism Spectrum Disorder. This year takes on added urgency. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows alarming numbers. According to the report:

  • About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network
  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
  • Those diagnosed as being on the autism scale has increased 78% in the last decade, alone
  • ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).
  • Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an average prevalence of about 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%.
  • About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.

“The CDC numbers are alarming, yet they don’t begin to tell the story of the real families, real individuals struggling every day,” said Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr. “From fighting to get a diagnosis and secure appropriate educational services and therapies, to trying to manage tremendous financial and emotional burdens or find a satisfying job opportunity, families are engaged in a daily battle against this disorder. We need to marshal the same resources and attention that the government has devoted to other diseases and disorders and finally make this a fair fight.”

As we have done each year, we have reached out to the sports and entertainment community to help lend support. In doing so, we have seen individuals that simply wish to help, but also those that are touched directly by autism. Be it the granddaughter of Seattle Mariners President Chuck Armstrong who has autism, Dodgers’ outfield Matt Kemp who has a brother with autism, actress Alyssa Milano who also has been directly touched by the developmental disorder, or Ryan and Dawn Neufeld, in reaching out to the community we have seen just how far reaching autism is.

With today being the beginning of International Autism Awareness Month, all the Business of Sports Network sites have been rebranded to remind you about this campaign, and within each post this month, we will be providing a link to Autism Speaks for those that wish to donate to assist in funding research on autism.

The main point of the autism awareness campaign is for you to spread the word, and reach a better understanding of the developmental disorder. All day April 2, Maury Brown will be providing information via Twitter on ASD

Here is how the Autism Society of America describes autism:

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

Currently, the Autism Society estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs).

Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives

Autism can be addressed through therapy. Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.

Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

IF YOU ARE WITHIN THE MEDIA, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO JOIN THE CAMPAIGN, AS WELL AS AUTISM SPEAKS EFFORTS. LINK OR REPURPOSE THIS MATERIAL TO HELP THE CAUSE.

The following have lent their name in saying they support autism awareness, if you wish to be added to the list, please contact Maury Brown, president of the Business of Sports Network via email for more details.

 

Corporate Endorsers

Prospectus Ventures (includes Baseball Prospectus)

Populous (Stadium and Global Design)

Sports Management Worldwide

Portland Timbers of MLS

Oregon Sports Authority

Yardbarker Network

Sports Business Radio

Sports and Entertainment Endorsers

  • Stan Kasten - Baseball exec. Future President and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Allan Walsh - NHL player agent, Octagon
  • Martin Havlat - Right Wing, Minnesota Wild
  • Matt Kemp - Outfielder, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Peter Gammons - MLB Network, MLB.com, NESN
  • John Thorn - Author, Official Historian Major League Baseball
  • Chuck Armstrong - President, Seattle Mariners
  • Larry Cancro - Senior Vice President of Fenway Affairs for the Boston Red Sox. Also Chairman of Autism Speaks, New England. Board member Melmark, New England a school that specializes in autism and similar cognitive disabilities
  • Jim Trotter - Senior NFL writer, Sports Illustrated
  • Sean Foreman - President, Sports Reference, LLC
  • Ken Davidoff - National baseball writer, Newsday
  • Kathy Conners - Principal & Founder KMC Consulting
  • Doug Farrar - Writer for Football Outsiders, Yahoo! Sports, Sportspress Northwest and The Washington Post
  • Chuck Greenberg - Founder, Greenberg Sports Group, Owner, Myrtle Beach Pelicans and State College Spikes
  • Jim Duquette - Sirius/XM Radio MLB Network Radio, former GM Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets
  • David Kahn - President, Basketball Operations, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Alyssa Milano - Television, screen and stage actor
  • Ryan and Dawn Neufeld - Ryan is 7-year NFL veteran playing tight-end; Dawn has been featured on VH1's "NFL Wives", honorary chairs of Dallas Rocks Against Autism
  • Jonathan Schaech - Actor and social activist. As seen in the movie "That Thing You Do" and more.
  • Larry Stone - National baseball writer, The Seattle Times
  • Troy Renck - MLB beat reporter, Denver Post
  • Kevin "'Duk" Kaduk - Editor of Y! Sports' Big League Stew
  • Dave Goren - Executive Director of National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association & Hall of Fame
  • George Atallah - Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs for the NFL Players Association
  • Mike Donnelly - Media Coordinator for the NFLPA
  • Ken Rosenthal - FOXSports.com, MLB Network
  • Dave Sims - Television play-by-play commentator for the Seattle Mariners, radio play-by-play for Sunday Night Football on Westwood One, television play-by-play host for UFL on VERSUS
  • Joe Hamrahi - Baseball Daily Digest, Baseball Prospectus
  • Richard Justice - Sports columnist, Houston Chronicl
  • Todd Radom - Graphic artist, sports logo creator
  • Joe Briggs, Esq
  • Curt and Shonda Schilling
  • Mike Ferrin - Host & Anchor, MLB Network Radio
  • Brent Gambill - Executive Producer, Sirius/XM Radio
  • Dave Barr - Producer, Sports Talk With Bo Mattingly. KREB 1190 Fayetteville, KTTG ESPN 96.3 FM Ft. Smith, KABZ 103.7 FM Little Rock
  • Russ Levine, VP of Digital Production for NHL.com
  • Jamie Newberg - NewbergReport.com
  • Pat Courtney - MLB VP Public Relations
  • Mike Dilorenzo - NHL spokesperson
  • Jason Rosenberg - It’s About the Money, Stupid blog
  • Jason Collette - DRaysBay.com /BaseballProspectus/Rotowire
  • Joe Siegler - RangerFans.com
  • Gary Armida - FullCountPitch.com
  • Jessica Quiroli - Author, HeelsOnTheField.com, Baseball Digest
  • Wendy Thurm - Author, Baseball Nation
  • Scott Jackson - Host of Last Call on Sporting News Radio, Co-Host of The Brian Mitchell Show on 1067 The Fan DC and SBNation DC Columnist
  • Lou Imbriano - CEO at TrinityOne Sports & Professor of Sports Marketing at Boston College. Former CMO of the New England Patriots & 2011 McGraw-Hill Author
  • Gordon Edes - ESPNBoston.com
  • Peter Abraham - Boston Globe
  • Victor Rojas - Television play-by-play voice of the LA Angels, formerly with MLB Network
  • Will Carroll - SI.com
  • Jesse Sanchez - MLB.com
  • Devon Teeple - Business of Sports Network
  • Jordan Kobritz - Business of Sports Network
  • Joe Tetreault - Business of Sports Network

To understand autism's reach, please see this PSA with NASCAR driver, Jamie McMurray

Donate
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to Autism Speaks

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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