Philanthropy: Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks and AXiD

In 2009, Alpha Xi Delta adopted Autism Speaks as its national philanthropy.  Since 2009, Alpha Xi Delta has raised more than $1,000,000 for Autism Speaks.

Each Alpha Xi Delta chapter observes World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Autism Awareness Month throughout the month of April. Sisters raise awareness in various ways. Alpha Xi Delta participates in Light It Up Blue, an initiative started by Autism Speaks to help “shine a light on autism.” Alpha Xi Delta sisters participate in various activities to educate people about autism and raise money on campus. Each semester, every chapter hosts at least one of the following AmaXIng Challenge events:

  • Xi Man Competition
  • Step It Up Walk/Run
  • Jail ‘n’ Bail
  • Xi Marks the Spot
  • Football FrenXI
  • Puzzlepalooza

What is Autism?

  • According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. These disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that there are varying degrees of autism. Disorders include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

What causes autism?

  • There is no one cause of autism. Scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes associated with autism.  A combination of at-risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development may also be a factor.

How common is autism?

  • 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism.
  • 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are on the autism spectrum.
  • A child is diagnosed with autism every 11 minutes.
  • More children are diagnosed with autism than cancer, AIDS/HIV, and diabetes combined.
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability.

What does Autism Speaks do?

  • Autism Speaks is the largest autism advocacy and research organization in the world. Autism Speaks  funds research into the causes and prevention of autism; tries to find treatments and a cure for autism; increases awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the federal funding for research of childhood diseases.
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