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Due to the success of programs at Penn State University, Autism Speaks is launching Autism SpeaksU, a program focused on connecting college students with the autism community. The annual walk/run, founded by the members of the Beta Sigma Beta Fraternity and Pi Beta Phi Sorority at Penn State in 2006, has raised nearly $450,000 for Autism Speaks in the past three years.

Autism SpeaksU is led by Adam Dorfman '07 and Andrew Moses '07, the co-creators of the annual event in State College, Pa. While at Penn State, Adam and Andrew recruited more than 3,500 participants. Now as Autism SpeaksU team leaders, they will provide support for student committees across the country looking to develop events.

Autism SpeaksU will be launched during the 2008-2009 school year at the University of California-Davis, University of Maryland-College Park and University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The goal of Autism SpeaksU is to unite college communities across America into one powerful voice for the autism community.

"Autism Speaks is excited to see the expansion of its College Initiative through Autism SpeaksU," said Sam Levitt, National Director of Community Events for Autism Speaks. "These events are organized by dedicated college students across the country working to support their local autism communities and the national efforts of Autism Speaks. We are honored to partner with them on this program and know it will help make a difference in the lives of all of those affected by autism."

About Autism
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States. The prevalence of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remains unknown.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world's largest autism advocacy organization, dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. For more information about autism and Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.