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The letter “Help autism locally” (March 22 and by Jen Forsyth, Autism Center of Pittsburgh fundraising director, maligned Autism Speaks as being too much of a national organization to be of use locally. That’s not correct.

Autism Speaks is the “ world’s leading research and advocacy organization,” but we also directly support local communities.

We fund Pittsburgh’s Autism Treatment Network (ATN), a one-stop shop providing a family-focused continuum of care, including diagnosis, evaluations, resources and therapies. From the expert specialists participating in our ATNs, we provide families free tool kits focusing on sleep disorders, challenging behaviors and gastrointestinal disorders, in addition to our many other free tool kits.

We continually refer our families to local service providers’ services and events and will never ask our families to choose which organization to support.

Our mission is clear; we need to work together to unite the autism community as one strong voice to change the future for all who struggle with autism. The work Autism Speaks does is more important than ever in light of the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prevalence survey result of one in 50 school-age children being diagnosed with autism. Join us as we call on President Obama and Washington to create a national plan for autism by following and signing our petition.

Please take the time to learn about the amazing work Autism Speaks does by visiting

Beth Whitehouse


The writer is director of training and development in Autism Speaks’ Ross field office.

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