Saturday, March 15, 2008

CNN Announces Global Coverage for First World Autism Awareness Day

CNN Pressroom - Multiplatform Effort Will Report on Science, Intervention and Resources for Parents on Wednesday, April 2

CNN will use its unparalleled newsgathering resources to report on the global impact and latest science of the developmental syndrome of autism for the first “World Autism Awareness Day.” Online as well as on CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN en Español and Headline News, CNN will report on medical insights, information on treatments and intervention, and details about services available for those living with autism for the inaugural international awareness day on Wednesday, April 2.

On CNN/U.S., chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will report on a range of issues related to autism spectrum disorder beginning on CNN’s American Morning at 6 a.m. through Anderson Cooper 360°.

Worldwide, it is estimated that as many as 35 million people have autism and face considerable challenges and often discrimination. In November 2007, the United Nations declared that April 2 would be an annual day to “encourage Member States to take measures to raise awareness about children with autism throughout society.”

“Bringing awareness and information to viewers and online users globally on topics of urgency and importance, like autism, is exactly what CNN does best,” said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. “And Sanjay Gupta as our daylong guide for our reporting on this issue is a real differentiator for CNN. It will give depth to our reporting that no other network can offer.”

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2007 that as many as 1 in 150 8-year-old children in multiple areas of the United States had an autism spectrum disorder. Parents must often navigate their own paths to find helpful therapies and finance expensive education and other services independently.

In anticipation of World Autism Awareness Day, CNN.com will offer expanded coverage of this mysterious neurological disorder. Viewers will be able to access news and information including the latest medical theories and research about autism as well as the stories of people who live every day with the condition. Through multimedia and interactive elements, as well as traditional stories and videos, viewers will be invited to expand their knowledge and understanding of autism.

Viewers and users are encouraged to share their firsthand accounts of life with autism through video, photo, audio or text submissions to www.iReport.com, CNN’s recently launched user-generated community Web site. Autism-related iReports are available at www.iReport.com/tags/autism; and iReport.com contributors also may gain recognition by having the material they submit to the site – once vetted and approved for use – appear on a CNN network or CNN.com.

On the weekend preceding World Autism Awareness Day, Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will devote the full broadcast of House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta to explain the latest medical thinking regarding early signs of autism. While most children are diagnosed with autism at about age two, studies suggest that earlier diagnoses may offer opportunities for critical behavioral interventions. Gupta will explain warnings signs that may be observable as early as 6 to 12 months of age, when early interventions may improve developmental outcomes. House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta airs Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. Gupta’s investigation into issues related to insurance coverage and educational therapies for families living with autism will be featured on CNN Radio for affiliates. On CNN.com, the “Paging Dr. Gupta Blog” and “Paging Dr. Gupta” podcast will also feature helpful information for families on autism.

Also on Saturday, March 29, personal finance editor Gerri Willis will offer advice for parents on coping with the tremendous costs of autism for Open House. Open House airs Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.

Preliminary coverage plans for World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2, include:

· American Morning will introduce CNN viewers to triplets – each with autism at varying severity – born to Lynn and Randy Gaston in Ellicott City, Md. Additional reports will feature adults living with autism and distinguish medical myths from realities associated with a range of therapies and treatments. CNN’s American Morning airs weekdays on CNN/U.S. from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

· On CNN en Español, En Familia, a 30 minute program that serves as a guide to parents, and Consulta Médica, a 30-minute prime-time program dedicated to personal health and fitness, will be focusing on the educational needs of children with autism, and addressing the latest controversies examining the link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorder. En Familia airs each Monday at 11:30 a.m. and Consulta Médica airs each Tuesday on CNN en Español at 11:30 a.m.

· A one-hour global simulcast special We Have Autism, anchored by CNN International’s Colleen McEdwards, will air at noon and focus on the experiences of families living with autism around the world and feature an interview with Suzanne Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization for people and families living with autism. McEdwards will also report on people living with extreme symptoms of autism, with a focus on Tito, a young man who despite his severe autism, has become a high-functioning poet and author. CNN international correspondent Wilf Dinnick will report on Qatar’s state-of-the-art Shafallah Centre that assists autistic children. The nation of Qatar is credited with leading U.N. efforts to establish World Autism Awareness Day as a day of global awareness. Also for We Have Autism, international correspondent John Vause will report from China about life with autism under communism. U.S. affairs editor for CNN International, Jill Dougherty will report on a family with a child recently diagnosed as autistic as they seek the best help for their child. We Have Autism will air on CNN/U.S. and CNN International.

· Actor, author, parent and autism activist Jenny McCarthy, as well as Bobby Kennedy, Jr., senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council who believes that thimerosal in vaccines is responsible for autism, will be guests on Larry King Live. Larry King Live airs weeknights on CNN/U.S. at 9 p.m. and replays at midnight.

· “Finding Amanda,” a one-hour Anderson Cooper 360° special, features a few of the approximately 600,000 American adults who live with autism. Gupta will introduce viewers to Amanda Baggs of Burlington, Vt., and others, who share with him how they experience the world – from their perspective. “Finding Amanda” will premiere on CNN/U.S. at 11 p.m. and replay at 2 a.m.

· Showbiz Tonight will feature a report on a groundbreaking documentary, Autism: The Musical, set to debut on HBO on Tuesday, March 25. Showbiz Tonight airs on Headline News weeknights at 11 p.m. and replays at 2 a.m.

· CNN Newsource will offer affiliates custom liveshots with medical correspondent Judy Fortin between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 2 about how families with older children living with autism cope with their challenges. Fortin’s package features a Grayson, Ga., family with a 12-year-old autistic child.

Additional programming focused upon autism will be announced closer to April 2.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

All times Eastern.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elaine Hall, the founder of the Miracle Project and one of the subjects of Autism: The Musical, has big plans to expand her successful project into other communities as well as create an online community for families with autism. You can find out more at http://www.themiracleproject.com

9:43 PM  
Blogger Jenniffer said...

hi i am a parent of an autistic child living in Nairobi Kenya. I would appreciate if the miracle project is extended to Kenya where little is known about autism and the methods of intervention available are very limited. Elaine Hall please consider us in your projects.

Jenniffer

6:03 AM  

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