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  • Autism Speaks is an autism advocacy organization in the United States that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. It was founded in February 2005 by Bob Wright, vice chairman of General Electric, and by his wife Suzanne, a year after their grandson Christian was diagnosed with autism. In January 2008, child clinical psychologist Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., became Autism Speaks's chief science officer. In April 2010, the organization named Yoko Ono its first "Global Autism Ambassador." Since its founding, Autism Speaks has merged with three existing autism organizations and raised millions of dollars for autism research. Since February 2009, Autism Speaks has used the Wubbzy character from Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! as a mascot. However, the organization has been criticized for treating autism more as a disease that needs to be cured, rather than a mental disability that needs to be more understood and accepted. See controversies below.

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