Advocacy counts

This April is National Autism Awareness Month. I hope that it will be a time when business and community leaders, politicians, and all of us become more keenly aware of the impact of autism on so many individuals and families across America. It’s a time when we can raise our voices to bring attention to this important issue that affects so many. (more…)


Easter Seals and autism?

That is exactly what I thought when I was perusing the job postings at Easter Seals in October of last year.  I was finishing my degrees and looking for work. I thought I would put my newly earned degrees in public health and education to work.  I perused the Easter Seals Web site thinking that I might find a job related to health disparities for people with disabilities, an area of interest of mine within the field of public health. And then I saw it – National Director, Autism Services.  “Autism Services?” What is Easter Seals doing in autism? I have been working in the field of autism for over 20 years, and Easter Seals was not on my radar as a service provider for individuals with autism. I had a lot to learn.

During my years in Hawaii, I had the opportunity to participate in grant projects with Easter Seals Hawaii in the area of assistive technology. The experience with the Hawaii affiliate was resoundingly positive. If there was an opportunity to contribute my clinical knowledge and years of experience in the field of  autism service within an organization like Easter Seals, I wanted to find out what this was all about.

My initial conversations with the team members at Easter Seals were eye-opening. 

  • Easter Seals was providing services to THOUSANDS of individuals with autism, thousands!
  • Individuals with autism were embedded in Easter Seals’ programs throughout the nation. 
  • Easter Seals had silently become the largest service provider to individuals with autism.

And, Easter Seals wanted to champion these current efforts and increase their capacity to serve the growing demand. They were looking for someone to collaborate in these efforts in the role of National Director – would I be lucky enough to “make-muster.”  I was!

I came on-board with Easter Seals full-time in January. Yes, the transition from living and working in Hawaii to working at the Easter Seals national headquarters in Chicago during winter may not be demonstrative of true intelligence – but the opportunity to work with this organization and their commitment to serving people with autism was absolutely a blessing! Easter Seals serves people with autism from the youngest child diagnosed to the older adult needing a positive place to spend their retirement days. We have the ability to support people with autism throughout the life-span.  And I get to contribute to this effort.

You, too, can contribute to the work of Easter Seals. Volunteer at or visit your local Easter Seals. Take a look at the job listings and see what’s available in your field within our organization. Easter Seals is committed to meeting the needs of the community – and you are that community.

Read Dr. Patricia Wright’s biography.


Welcome to the Easter Seals and Autism blog

It seems that every day I learn about another family who is living with a family member with autism or about a family with a child recently diagnosed with autism. Many people are now referring to autism as an epidemic. Based on the recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the incidence of autism in America, it’s difficult to argue the point.

Behind the numbers, there are very real challenges for the people diagnosed with autism and for their families. How do they begin to make sense of this diagnosis when there is currently no known cause or cure? That’s where Easter Seals comes in.

For nearly 90 years, Easter Seals has been responding to issues that affect individuals and their families. The same is true about autism. We are launching this blog and Web site because Easter Seals is one of the nation’s leading providers of services and support for children and adults living with autism and their families. We’re unique because we’re working internationally to deliver personalized treatment and service for people with autism — today.

With the creation of this blog, I’m asking members of the Easter Seals family — individuals and families living with autism, autism experts, service providers, and many others — to contribute to the blog discussion about services and treatment options that are helping people with autism right now.

And I ask you to help us understand the challenges you’re facing and how we can work together to change the lives of people living with autism.

There will be more to come — be sure to subscribe to our blog and spread the word. This April is National Autism Awareness Month. Help us let people know that Easter Seals is here to help right now in communities across the country.

Read Jim Williams’ bio