Illuminating the Night with Autism Speaks

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Hey, friends!

I wanted to take this post to tell you about an event that’s very near and dear to me – one that I’ve had the pleasure of working on this summer. 

During my internship at Iris Worldwide, an advertising agency in Chicago, I spent a good chunk of my time working for Autism Speaks (AS).

While working closely with the AS Chicago team this summer, I learned about the variety of ways they make a positive impact in the Autism community.  


Autism at a glance

Many people who aren’t closely associated with someone on the spectrum aren’t fully aware of what this means. Here’s the definition unveiled on their website.  

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.” 

Their community impact

Although AS is not a direct service provider and can’t provide medical or mental health services, they offer a vast collection of resources for people touched by autism, whether it be directly or by association. They listen to their surrounding communities and update their practices to best suit the people they’re actually helping.  

At the community level, AS gives grants to support a variety of programs. From therapy to service animals, all programs ultimately facilitate accessibility and inclusivity. 

Here is how the grants were distributed in Illinois.

Their mission 

Among increasing funding, AS fosters global understanding and acceptance. It supports research breakthroughs, increases early childhood screening/intervention, unmasks accurate information, improves the transition to adulthood, advocates on the federal and state level and ultimately acts as a hub for people on the spectrum and their loved ones. 

AS illuminates the lives of those touched by autism in tangible, strategic ways that span science, services and policy. Specifically, here are some of their main goals:

  • A better understanding of the causes and typology of ASD 
  • Children with an autism spectrum disorder being diagnosed before age of 2 
  • Children having access to appropriate intervention, services and resources immediately following diagnosis 
  • The availability of better treatments both for underlying pathology as well as co-existing conditions that decrease quality of life for those with autism 
  • People with ASD and their families have transition plans that result in more independent adult life that is meaningful to the individual 
  • Individuals with ASD will have effective interventions, services and supports throughout their lifetime

Autism Speaks to Young Professionals 

Autism Speaks To Young Professionals, or AS2YP, creates an inclusive community for people on the spectrum to thrive in. It unites young professionals with a connection to autism and gives self-advocates and young professionals not on the spectrum the chance to join an empowered community of autism advocates, while also providing the social setting to make lasting friendships and professional connections. 

My involvement

My Iris team created all of the promotion materials to support AS2YP’s “Illuminate” Masquerade event taking place on September 7th at 8pm.  

To get the word out, our intern crew created a promotional video incorporating the visual direction we’ve been developing all summer. Kudos to Anna and Hannah for their bold visuals.  

Check it out:  


Come celebrate!

By purchasing a ticket to this event, you’re helping AS2YP gain funding for initiatives, programs and research that support this amazing community.

Get your blue mask on and join us at the Illuminate masquerade for tunes, tastes, sips and more. Buy your tickets here. I hope to see you there!

How you can help 

If you can’t attend the event, here’s a few different ways you can illuminate.

Follow the AS social media (Facebook, Instagram)

Follow the AS2YP social media (Facebook, Instagram)

Send a financial gift

Attend future AS events

Stand as an autism advocacy ambassador 


Light It Up Blue, 




All visuals are property of AS2YP Chicago & Iris Worldwide.

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