Announcing Project Touch: Free Apple iTouch to Needy Virginia Children with Autism

Autism Speaks is proud to team with a local teenager to bring the following innovative program to help needy children with autism receive a free iPod Touch, while supplies last.

Washington, VA, February 02, 2011 --( Autism Speaks is proud to team with a local teenager to bring the following innovative program to help needy children with autism.

Priya Krishnan, a high school junior from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, is coordinating Project Touch through the 501(c)3 non-profit foundation that she co-founded with her sister. Through the past four years, Priya worked very hard and has successfully raised money using various fundraisers for a cause that is really dear to her heart. Priya has an 8-year old cousin who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Ever since Priya gave him an Apple iTouch for Christmas, he has shown great progress in learning with it. Motivated by his positive response to the iTouch, Priya has decided to help similar children who may not be able to afford an iTouch. As a first step, she wants to help 50 needy Virginia children with autism with a free Apple iTouch. Recipients will be selected on the basis of essays submitted to Priya and her student committee.

"Autism now affects approximately one percent of the global population, or 67 million people worldwide," said Ann Gibbons, Executive Director of the National Capital Area Chapter of Autism Speaks. "Priya, who through her extraordinary efforts will make a difference today in the lives of 50 children, reminds all of our families that they are not alone in their struggle."

On the evenings of April 1 and 2, 2011, prominent buildings across North America and the world - including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada - will turn their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2nd. "We’re aiming to light the world blue all throughout April - city by city, town by town - by taking action to raise autism awareness in our communities," Gibbons said. Project Touch will commemorate April, Autism Awareness Month, by presenting the iTouches to the selected children at an awards ceremony in April.

Selection Criteria: please clearly write, not exceeding one page, why your family/child/student should be awarded an Apple iTouch. While we do not require income information, please explain why your child/family is deserving of the award. The purpose of this project is to help children with autism whose families are not able to afford items such as Apple iTouch units. Please adhere to the one-page requirement, provide complete contact information, and list the name of the child and the school he or she attends. Recipients must be residents of Virginia. Send the completed write-up to the following address:

Project Touch
c/o Autism Speaks
1990 K Street, NW, 2nd Fl
Washington, DC 20006
mail, fax to 202.955.3115 or email to

Deadline: March 15, 2011.

About Autism:
Autism is a complex neurobiological 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 110 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

About Autism Speaks:
Autism Speaks is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $142.5 million to research through 2014 and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. For more information, please visit or contact the National Capital Area office at 202.955.3111 or . For more information on World Autism Awareness Day and how to participate, please visit

Autism Speaks National Capital Area
Christina Markish
202 955 3111