Strategic Plan

Autism Speaks is dedicated to facilitating global research into the causes, treatments and prevention of autism by:

•  Promoting cross-disciplinary cooperation
•  Funding research
•  Organizing research summit meetings
•  Establishing standards for data collection and management to benefit the scientific community

Autism Speaks Strategic Plan for Science, Overview and Executive Summary

Autism Speaks
Strategic Plan for Science 2013-2017

Full Version (PDF)

In any disease or disorder there are four basic questions that can be investigated to improve its understanding: What causes it? (Etiology); What is it? (Biology); How do you know if someone has it? (Diagnosis); and most importantly, How do we make it better? (Treatment). In addition, as we begin to discover answers to these questions it is equally important to ask:  How do we translate these findings into practice? (Dissemination). Autism demands answers for each of these questions. All are priorities. Autism Speaks has garnered its resources and organized its research program to pursue each of these avenues simultaneously. Our four science program portfolios have been designed to encompass these priorities and find answers to each of these critical questions. Although we have organized our program into four components, progress in any of these areas will help inform advances in each of the others.

Autism demands answers for each of these questions. All are priorities. Autism Speaks has garnered its resources and organized its research program to pursue each of these avenues simultaneously.

 

Our science portfolio targets five specific areas:

Etiology (Causes): Why does someone get autism?

Goal: Understanding the triggers and susceptibilities to autism
Focus: Developing and managing grants and initiatives in the areas of genetics, environmental sciences and epidemiology

Biology: What are the biological problems associated with autism?

Goal: Understanding the underlying biological mechanisms of autism
Focus: Developing and managing grants and initiatives in the areas of neurosciences, physiology and molecular biology

Diagnosis: How do we know if someone has autism?

Goal: To refine existing diagnostic tools and develop new diagnostic approaches to aid in early detection
Focus: Developing and managing grants and initiatives in the areas of behavioral and biological methods of diagnosis as well as characterization of the autism phenotypes

Treatment: How can we help individuals with autism?

Goal: To increase the efficacy and range of treatment options available
Focus: Developing and managing grants and initiatives in the areas of behavioral, biomedical and technological methods of treatment and intervention services

Dissemination: How do we translate autism science into practice?

Goal: Translate advances in autism research into real-world solutions for families
Focus: Dissemination and adoption of evidence-based treatments and other clinical care practice standards into community settings, providing wide accessibility both within the United States and internationally.