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Ami Klin

A note from Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson PhD:
Dr. Ami Klin explains the importance of helping the young child with autism become engaged with the social environment, which increases the learning opportunities that are available to the child.  Although our goal is to get children with autism into intervention as soon as possible, it is never too late for an individual with autism to benefit from interventions that focus on increasing social interaction.  

March 29, 2009

In its March 29 issue, Nature reports on an NIH-funded study out of the Yale Child Study Center that focuses on toddler response to biological motion. Dr. Ami Klin, lead investigator for the study, and his colleagues found that young toddlers with autism are not sensitive to biological motion, or all movements made by people including facial expressions, speech and gestures. The study, funded in part by Autism Speaks, helps explain why young toddlers with autism often do not make eye contact or pay attention to what others are doing.

Autism Speaks, Science, Latest Research, Toddlers with Autism Drawn to Synchronized Movements

In 2000, NAAR became the first non-governmental organization to break the $1 million mark for funding autism research and committed approximately $1.5 million to fund 19 pilot studies and two mentor-based fellowships in autism research taking place in the United States and Spain.

In 2001, NAAR broke new ground in terms of the amount of money committed to autism research and the number of projects funding. It also marked the first time the organization funded projects in Israel and Ireland, and included In 2001, NAAR committed approximately $3.1 million to fund 28 pilot studies, fellowships and programs, including its largest investment to date in a single project: The Baby Sibs Study – a collaborative, multi-site research program taking place in Canada and the U.S.

In 2002, NAAR budgeted an unprecedented $1 million to fund pre- and post-doctoral mentor-based fellowships to attract the best and brightest young minds to focus their talents on autism research.

Pre-Doctoral Fellowships

Autism Research Centre (Cambridge, England)
Mentor: Simon Baron-Cohen, Ph.D.

University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
Mentor: Deborah A. Fein, Ph.D.

New England Medical Center (Boston, MA)
Mentor: Susan Folstein, M.D.
Research Partner: The Mellanby Autism Foundation

Research Funded: 2004

In 2004, NAAR committed $6.2 million to fund 25 pilot studies, 14 pre- and post-doctoral fellowships as well as two large collaborative programs: the NAAR Autism Genome Project and expansion of the Autism Tissue Program. In addition, NAAR's 2004 research commitments include the ongoing support of two interdisciplinary autism training programs that are being co-sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.