Identifying the early signs of autism can make a lifetime of difference in helping a child access resources and thrive later in life.
As part of their ongoing commitment to lowering the age of diagnosis and empowering more autistic children to reach their full potential, the Ad Council and Autism Speaks launched an all-new bilingual awareness campaign encouraging parents and caregivers of young children to spot the signs early and seek support when they need it.
According to the CDC, autism effects an estimated one in 54 children in the US, and though autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 18 months, the signs can begin to appear even earlier. Despite this, the average age of diagnosis is four years and three months, and even later in minority and low-income communities. This later diagnosis results in missing out on access to critical, life-enhancing resources and supports.
As the pandemic prevented many families from regular well-visits to assess progress toward developmental milestones, experts believe that even more children have gone undiagnosed in recent months.
The new campaign, which features three children on the spectrum and their families, centers on a series of birthday parties with select examples of how children with autism may respond differently to day-to-day situations and how parents can identity the signs and support their child’s healthy development.
The spots, created by our friends at BBDO New York, resolve in the positive outcomes that are possible following a diagnosis – conveying how identifying a child’s unique needs can be a pivotal turning point to help them achieve better outcomes. Watch below:
Here’s the Spanish language version:
We chose to use a childhood birthday to underscore the message that it’s never too early to look for signs of autism, and reassure parents that a screening is not something to fear, but rather the first step to a better life for their child,” said David Povill, executive creative director at BBDO.
“Increasing early screening and timely interventions for kids on the spectrum is a crucial part of our mission, and our work with the Ad Council is so important to advancing this effort,” added Pamela Dixon, director of clinical services and inclusion at Autism Speaks. “The earlier a child can receive support – whatever their unique set of strengths and challenges are – the better their future outcomes can be. We believe in a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential, and early diagnosis is critical to making this a reality.”
The awareness campaign prompts parents and families to provide early support by visiting the websites to access both English and Spanish resources to identify the signs of autism, take part in a screening questionnaire and request information from the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team before, during and after a child’s diagnosis.
In addition, the site features free, bilingual materials such as the 100 Day Kit, providing families pivotal information and advice for making the best possible use of the first 100 days following a diagnosis.
By sharing the positive outcomes that can follow a diagnosis, the campaign aims to destigmatize autism screenings, by encouraging the dialogue that is essential to accessing support. Research shows that early intervention can improve learning, communication and social skills among young children with autism.
The campaign urges parents to understand how learning the signs of autism, many of which are identifiable early in a child’s life, can afford the best opportunities to deliver benefits across the entire life span.
“It was important that the ultimate takeaway was one of hope and positivity.
“Early detection and screening for autism continues to be an important issue for the Ad Council to communicate to families because diagnosis and early intervention improve outcomes for children. And Covid presents a particularly unique challenge for parents of young children right now, since they aren’t interacting with physicians or childcare workers as much as they normally would,” added Heidi Arthur, Ad Council chief campaign development officer.
CLIENT: Autism Speaks
- VP, CAMPAIGN DEVELOPMENT (AC): Sheri Klein
- CAMPAIGN MANAGER (AC): Sarah Mann
- STRATEGIC INITIATIVES AND INNOVATIONS OFFICER (AS): Lisa Goring
- DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS (AS): Mackenzie Dougherty
- SENIOR DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING (AS): Katherine Stein
- SOCIAL MEDIA & DIGITAL CONTENT STRATEGIST (AS): Felipe Maya
- DIRECTOR, BRAND MARKETING (AS): Kathleen McKeever
- SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR (AS): Alana Kiss
AGENCY: BBDO New York
- CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, BBDO WORLDWIDE: David Lubars
- EVP, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Matt MacDonald
- EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: David Cuccinello
- EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: David Povill
- CREATIVE DIRECTOR: EJ Lee
- CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Joey Monteverde
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Katie Porter
- BUSINESS AFFAIRS MANAGER: Grace Kelly
- EVP, SENIOR DIRECTOR: Gati Curtis
- ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Emily Holzberg
- ASSISTANT ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Victoria Skrivanos
- VP, PLANNING DIRECTOR: Ben Bass
- JUNIOR PLANNER: Julia Machuga
- PROJECT MANAGER: Kelli Szymczak
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Zero260Films
- DIRECTOR: Jacob Chase
- DP: Danny Grunes
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Richard Goldberg and Dan Halprin
- PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR: Dan Pellar
EDIT: Rock Paper Scissors
- EDITOR: David Brodie
- ASST EDITOR: Shelly Rose
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Shada Shariatzdeh
- PRODUCER: Blake Carron
TELECINE: Company 3
- ARTIST: Tim Masik
- PRODUCER: Kevin Breheny
- CONFORM/FINISHING: Method Studios
- ARTIST: Aidan Thomas
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/HOP: Ananda Reavis
- PRODUCER: Kyle Leonard
AUDIO FINISHING: Lime Studios
- MIXER: Adam Primack
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Susie Boyajan
- MUSIC: South Music
- COMPOSER: Eric Plust
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Britt Fredensburg
- PRODUCER: Ignacio Zas
- EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Bryce Edwards