NEW YORK–Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, announced today the launch of its second annual “Sound Off For Autism Speaks.” The fundraising effort will give fans the opportunity to order a limited number of custom-recorded messages from Cher, Adam West, Bryan Cranston, Jack Black, Jim Parsons, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Peter Dinklage, Vin Scully and Zachary Quinto in return for a $299 donation. All proceeds will support Autism Speaks’ research and advocacy efforts. Celebrity messages will be available for purchase for one week only, October 7 – 13, 2013. Fans can register online at SoundOffForAutismSpeaks.com to receive a reminder just prior to the October 7 campaign. A limited number of messages will be available from each celebrity on a first come, first served basis. Fans will have the unique opportunity to specify what they want their chosen celebrity to say in the message. Autism Speaks will send fans a digital file of their message once it has been recorded by their celebrity. The inaugural Sound Off For Autism Speaks took place in December 2012, raising more than $100,000. The campaign was spearheaded by Ed Asner, whose son, Matt, serves as executive director of Southern California for Autism Speaks. In addition to Asner, participating celebrities included Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Carrie Fisher, Tom Hanks, Derek Jeter, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart and Betty White. “Last year, I got together with Matt and we discussed what my friends and I could do to support the important work of Autism Speaks,” said Ed Asner. “We decided that bringing together a group of celebrities with great voices to do a kind of ‘voiceathon’ would be a fun way to raise awareness and funds for the autism community. The campaign was such an overwhelming success and received so much positive feedback we had to do it again.” Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated one in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 78 percent increase in six years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis. Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It 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. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness.