Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Toys R Us to help promote awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder

This weekend, Toys "R" Us and theToys "R" Us Children's Fund will kick off a nationwide fundraising campaignto benefit Autism Speaks, the world's leading organization devoted toautism awareness, advocacy and research. From March 18 through May 4, all586 Toys "R" Us stores across the country will accept cash donations tosupport Autism Speaks in its efforts to help solve the puzzle of autism.Online shoppers can also contribute by visiting The program coincides with Autism AwarenessMonth, which is officially designated as April each year. (Photo: ) As part of the campaign, Toys "R" Us will offer customers valuableinformation about autism, both in stores and online, to increase publicawareness about the disorder. Toys "R" Us engaged the National LekotekCenter, an independent organization dedicated to children withdisabilities, to create a special edition of the Toy Guide forDifferently-Abled Kids that identifies "Ten Toys That Speak to Autism." Theten toys selected promote language, creativity and social skills that aidan autistic child's development. This unique list features toys thatchildren with autism can play with alongside their siblings and friends andalso includes early warning signs of autism. The list will be available atall Toys "R" Us stores and online at "Through our 'Ten Toys That Speak to Autism' initiative, we are pleasedto provide an authoritative resource to help anyone who knows and loves anautistic child," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO of Toys "R" Us, Inc."Bringing smiles to all children through the simple act of play is at thevery heart of our business, and we are proud to partner with Autism Speaksin its efforts to advocate for the needs of children and families affectedby this disorder." All money raised during the seven-week campaign will go directly toAutism Speaks to fund research into the causes, prevention and treatmentsto ultimately find a cure for autism. "With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently releasingrevised statistics that the prevalence of autism has increased to one in150 children, this campaign could not come at a more crucial time," saidSuzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. "We are extremely grateful toToys "R" Us for its help in raising much-needed funds and generatingawareness for this disorder that affects so many families." In addition to the fundraising and awareness program, Toys "R" Us andthe Toys "R" Us Children's Fund proudly serve as the national sponsor ofthe Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of more than 60fundraising walk events across the country. Toys "R" Us employees arejoining in the walks and the fight against autism by forming regional teamsin their communities. All money raised at Toys "R" Us stores, online at andthrough the Walk Now for Autism program will benefit Autism Speaks. TheToys "R" Us Children's Fund launched the partnership last month byproviding a $250,000 grant to Autism Speaks. About Toys "R" Us, Inc. Toys "R" Us is the world's leading specialty toy retailer. Currently itsells merchandise through more than 1,500 stores, including 586 stores inthe U.S. and 680 international toy stores, which includes licensed andfranchise stores, and through its Internet site at Babies"R" Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and aleader in the juvenile industry, and sells merchandise through 251 storesin the U.S. as well as on the Internet at About Autism Speaks Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrumdisorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments andcure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. Itwas founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents ofa child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer,General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks hasmerged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and CureAutism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autismadvocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit