April is Autism Awareness Month, Meet our Families, and upcoming events ... 
April 20, 2018
April is Autism Awareness Month
In this Issue: Autism Awareness Month 

April is Autism Awareness Month and the Center for Autism Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is highlighting the stories of individuals and their families who make our work possible, and who provide hope and support for the autism community.
In this issue you'll meet ...
Meet Massi and his family
Meet Massimo

Families participate in autism research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for many reasons. Some are looking for answers and a better understanding of autism. Some want to "give back" by volunteering for research. Some hope to find ways to make their lives a little easier. But most do not expect to receive another diagnosis.  

Meet Franco and his family
Meet Franco

All parents want to know their baby is on track developmentally. Are they making enough eye contact? When should they start crawling? Franco was hitting all of his developmental milestones right on schedule- smiling, crawling, walking- except for one.
Meet Grace, Gabriel and their family
Meet Grace and Gabriel

As babies, Grace and Gabriel had breathing and feeding problems such as  apnea and severe reflux. As they neared their first birthday, it also became clear that the twins were not meeting the normal developmental milestones.

Meet Anthony and his family
Meet Anthony

At 19 years old, Anthony is the man everyone wants to be friends with at his high school. But he wasn't always this outgoing. At two years old, his parents and pediatrician recognized a lack of eye contact and speech as warning signs of autism. 

Meet Ben and find out about his recent adventure
Meet Ben 

Meet Ben Hartranft today, and you would never imagine that this friendly, enthusiastic 19-year-old didn't speak until age 3. As a toddler, Ben's mom, Sandy, recalls Ben's struggle to  string two words together. His vocabulary was limited to 20 nouns. Ben would throw "huge temper tantrums" in frustration, she remembers.
With intensive speech and occupational therapy, Ben learned to express himself, and his temper tantrums dwindled. He has faced every challenge with enthusiasm ever since. The Hartranfts say learning what motivated Ben was their first challenge. Keeping him safe without dampening his spirit is ongoing. "Ben had no fear as a little boy and would run into traffic if something across the street caught his eye," Sandy remembers. Now that he's older, Ben pursues goals with the same single-minded abandon."
Today, Ben has not only been named Prom King at his high school, but works part-time at Olive Garden and Dorney Park while going to school. Ben considers his most important role as an "ambassador" for autism. Through participation in research, public speaking, media interviews, volunteer work and raising money for his Eagles Autism Challenge team , Ben is pursuing his passion for helping others to understand autism. "It's important to help those growing up after me," he says.

Today, we welcome Ben as a guest blogger to share his experience about his first independent plane ride, in his own words.
Sports gave Emma's parents a way into their daughter's world. Get to know the Hertzler Family, their journey with daughter Emma, and find out why they are supporting the Eagles Autism Challenge for "Emma's Voice"
(click below to watch the video)

We want to hear from you! What's moving you to take the challenge? Share your story with us on Facebook or email us!

Saturday, May 19th, join the Philadelphia Eagles players, alumni, coaches, executives, cheerleaders and SWOOP on Lincoln Financial Field for the 
Eagles Autism Challenge bike race and 5K run/walk to 
raise funds for collaborative autism research and programs at CHOP, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University.

learn more and start your own team at  www.EaglesAutismChallenge.org.
Upcoming Workshops & Events

Sunday, April 22, 2018 - 9am-1:30pm

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 8:15am- 3:30pm

May 18 & 19, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 9am-4pm

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 9am-4pm

boy w. magnifying glass
You Can Help Us Learn More about ASD!

Advances in understanding autism and related disorders are only possible as a direct result of the participation of individuals and families. We have opportunities for all ages, and you do not need an autism diagnosis to participate.

Simply put - scientists cannot make real progress without your help. We need you!
Learn about current studies 

Get Up to Speed  on  CAR News & Upcoming Events!


The Center for Autism Research | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
267-426-7450 | autism@email.chop.edu