Autism Awareness Month
What's Going On?
Using “New Media”
On the Horizon
What People are Saying...
Autism Awareness Month Activities
Wrap Up With Success
Throughout April, the “Learn
the Signs. Act Early.” campaign conducted outreach
activities to promote campaign messages and materials in
local communities and among health care professionals.
During this year’s National Autism Awareness Month, we
focused on reaching parents, health care professionals,
and child care providers in cities across the country
through grassroots and electronic outreach.
Community Outreach Week
week of April 10–14, 2006, was designated as “Learn the
Signs. Act Early. Community Outreach Week.” During this
week, 115 of our campaign champions delivered campaign
flyers to local health care professionals and child care
providers and encouraged members of both groups to
download or order materials. Armed with campaign
t-shirts and sample health care professional kits, these
dedicated foot soldiers reached across 30 states.
Awareness Month presents a special opportunity to engage
health care professionals at a personal level. Through
an e-card push, we reached out to this audience where it
hits home: in their e-mail inbox. This electronic
greeting card emphasized the importance of early
intervention and increased dialogue with parents.
To reach the campaign's most important
audience—pediatricians—the campaign worked with the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to develop an
article for the April issue of AAP News, the
organization's official member publication, which
reaches 60,000 members. In addition, 11” x 17" campaign
information pieces were inserted into the magazine for
pediatricians to pull out and save.
Autism Speaks and CDC
National campaign partner Autism Speaks launched its
nationwide advertising campaign in April, helping to
spread the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign
messages of early intervention and monitoring a child’s
development. In collaboration with CDC, Autism Speaks
created a series of television public service
announcements in English and Spanish that reach out to
parents and get their attention using a series of
statistics. The ad campaign is sponsored by the Ad
Council and will be running in markets across the
country. Watch for it in your area!
Eva La Rue
in Los Angeles CAN Walk
Campaign spokesperson Eva La Rue participated in Cure
Autism Now’s (CAN) autism walk on April 22 in Los
Angeles along with nearly 10,000 other autism champions.
“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign representatives
also attended the walk and exhibited materials at a
booth with campaign champion Sofía Quezada. A national
campaign partner, CAN raised more than $1 million
towards the cause! Congratulations on a successful
Health Care Professionals: Conference Season Kicks Into
summer here, the health care professional conference
season has kicked off with a bang. As a primary
audience, health care professionals must be aware of the
importance of early intervention and of knowing the
developmental milestones a child should be reaching. To
help spread this message, campaign representatives will
attend four major conferences over the next seven
months. They will attend the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the American Academy of Nursing, the
American Academy of Family Physicians, and others
throughout the year. Campaign representatives already
attended the Society of Pediatric Nurses and Pediatric
Academic Societies’ national conferences in April. Last
year, we reached 65,000 health care professionals
through conferences, and we look forward to another
successful season in 2006!
Consumer Online and Grassroots Outreach Going Strong!
With the help of committed campaign
champions and partners, the campaign continues to reach
new and diverse audiences across the country with
messages of childhood development. Here are a few recent
National Rural Health Association recently added a
campaign summary and website link to its "Members
and Partners" webpage, which receives nearly 45,000
unique visitors each month.
California Rural Indian Health Board distributed
campaign information cards at two health fairs in
April, helping reach a niche market of parents and
YMCA included a campaign summary in its February 28
issue of Hot Facts, a weekly
blast fax that is distributed to each YMCA branch
(approximately 2,500) across the country. In
addition, a campaign summary and image were included
in the February monthly newsletter, a poster-size
piece that is displayed in all YMCA branches.
has included the campaign summary and website link
on its “Understanding Autism” page under the
Additional Resources tab.
Campaign spokesperson Eva La Rue and
“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” were both featured in the
spring issue of HealthWise magazine. In the
three-page cover story, Ms. La Rue speaks about the
campaign, and the article includes a copy of the
informational card. HealthWise is a family
wellness publication focusing on health and lifestyle
issues that reaches about 1.2 million readers per year.
today’s world of media overload, it can be challenging
to make sure your messages are “cutting through the
clutter” and reaching the people you want them to
reach. The “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign has
taken advantage of some “new media” vehicles and has
come out on top with the important messages of childhood
nontraditional media outlets has been an important
strategy for the campaign in reaching target audiences.
As with the original launch to consumers in 2005, the
campaign PSA was displayed on the giant Panasonic
Astrovision screen in New York City’s Times Square
during Autism Awareness Month. The PSA aired 48 times a
day—twice each hour—reaching the millions of passersby
in the Big Apple.
(continued at top of next column)
(continued from previous
Goodyear Tire Company’s blimp carried campaign
information over major sporting events throughout
February and March. The “Learn the Signs. Act Early.”
campaign message and website were placed on several
airships, helping us to reach sporting event attendees
(likely many fathers) throughout the popular March
Madness basketball season.
Reaching Parents on the
the growing popularity of iPods and other mp3 players,
the popularity of podcasts—or Internet radio programs—is
increasing as well. This medium is a portable way to get
important messages about childhood development to
parents and consumers that has a longer shelf life than
most other forms of media. Podcasts are easy to listen
to at any time. If you miss the original airing, you can
find it archived on the site. To listen, you simply
visit the podcast website and download the show you want
Taking advantage of this form of new media to reach
parents, CDC’s autism expert Dr. Marshalyn
Yeargin-Allsopp was interviewed on the April 16th airing
of “101 Uses for Baby Wipes,” a popular podcast dealing
with children’s and parenting issues. Download the podcast here. Watch for an episode with campaign champion
Sofía Quezada in the future.
Campaign spokesperson Eva La Rue will also be
participating in a podcast reaching moms nationwide—MommyCast.com.
Keep an eye out for more information!
Special Education Teacher,
Virginia Public Schools
Barbara and students
from her class
“Identifying early warning signs is paramount for
supporting children with developmental delays, and
nothing is more important than children receiving early
intervention,” said Barbara Tames, a special education
teacher of nearly 25 years.
Barbara sees the importance of early intervention every
day in her work with children diagnosed with autism and
other developmental delays; therefore, she strives to
increase awareness of developmental milestones and early
intervention throughout her community.
Have an inspiring story
If you or someone you know has an
inspiring story to tell as a result of becoming involved
in the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign, please
send it to
firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always looking for success
stories to share with partners and campaign champions
throughout the country, and we want to hear from you!
to you—our dedicated campaign partners and champions—we
have increased awareness and education about childhood
development across the country. You continue to play a
vital role in educating parents, health care
professionals, and child care providers to ensure that
children have the opportunity to reach their full
potential. Sincere thanks to you for your commitment and
Special thanks to:
If you’ve been involved in your
community, the campaign wants to know. Send an
email@example.com with your story.
Provider Outreach to Begin
the next several months, we will develop campaign
materials and outreach strategies targeting specifically
child care providers and early childhood educators. As
with the audiences of parents and health care
professionals, your support in helping to educate those
in your community will be critical. Stay tuned for more
information on how you can help.
help you raise awareness of childhood development and
your organization simultaneously, we have created
template versions of the campaign flyer and poster that allow you to localize
them with your organization’s name and contact
information. Watch the campaign website for more
"Events like CAN's ‘Walk
Now’ are wonderful! These events provide
parents the opportunity to educate others
and help children reach their full
If you are
looking for ways to get more involved with the campaign,
be sure to visit the Partner section of the website (www.cdc.gov/actearly)
and check out our “How
to Get Involved” page for ideas. You’ll find ideas
and tools to help you reach out to your communities,
friends, and family to help them learn the signs and act