July 13, 2011

NAA Asks Facebook Users to Vote for Autism Family Assistance Programs

Vivint Gives Back Project provides opportunity for expanded programs benefitting families affected by autism

NIXA, Mo., July 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Autism Association (NAA) is asking parents, grandparents, and caregivers affected by autism to vote daily for the organization in the Vivint Gives Back Project on Facebook. NAA is in the running for $1.25 million to be awarded through the program which ends August 27.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090918/NAALOGO )

"NAA provides real hope and real help to families. With just a couple clicks, people can make a difference for the one in 110 children now diagnosed with autism," said Lori McIlwain, NAA board chair and mother to an 11- year-old son with the disorder. "Although autism affects more children than any other medical condition, it receives the least amount of funding. Families are struggling to survive the financial and emotional trials that autism presents, with even the most basic treatments and services often out of reach. This funding would make a tremendous difference for the programs NAA already has in place to help these families."

Funding from Vivint would allow NAA to significantly broaden its newest program, the "Big Red Safety Box," which focuses on wandering prevention. Over the past two months, NAA has distributed 2,000 of its Big Red Safety Boxes to families of individuals with autism who are at risk of wandering away from safe environments. The boxes contain door alarms, identification tags, and many other wandering-prevention safety materials and tools. Made possible through a grant from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, NAA is currently seeking funding to continue the invaluable service the Big Red Safety Box program affords families. "The Vivint funding would allow us to continue providing lifesaving resources to the overwhelming number of families trying to keep their loved ones safe," said Ms. McIlwain.

In addition to the Big Red Safety Box, other NAA programs include Helping Hand, which assists families in providing desperately needed treatments and therapies for their children, and FOUND, which McIlwain helped establish in 2008 to combat the rise in wandering-related deaths in the autism community. In addition to its family care programs, NAA advocates for the most relevant scientific research, legislation for access to medical care, coverage for medical and safety devices, services and support over the life span and protection from abuse towards individuals with autism.

"Autism is a national emergency that has gone neglected for far too long," according to Ms. McIlwain. "This is an easy way for those who care about these kids and their families to help them get the assistance they desperately need."

To vote for NAA on Facebook, go to http://voteautismnow.com and you will be directed to the Vivint Gives Back app.

Rita Shreffler (Nixa, MO) 417-818-9030
Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI) 401-835-5828

SOURCE National Autism Association