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In Pediatrics, new autism research and guidelines made possible by Autism Speaks network

Special supplement covers best practices for medical, mental health and behavioral issues.

From: Autism Speaks                                                  

Aurelia Grayson


CJ Volpe


New York, N.Y. (February 1, 2016) – The journal Pediatrics today published a major supplement on medical, mental health and behavioral issues commonly associated with autism. The special issue, made possible by the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN), provides important practice guidelines for the nation’s pediatricians. Like the journal’s first autism supplement – published in 2012 – the work was conducted almost entirely through the ATN, serving as the federally funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P).

The new and greatly expanded supplement includes treatment recommendations for health issues that often accompany autism, such as anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep, severe irritability and problem behaviors. There is also autism-specific guidance on the special needs of adopted children; transition plans for teenagers as they move from pediatric to adult healthcare systems; hospital care plans; and emergency room procedures.

“The supplement brings together in one place a rich and diverse compilation of clinical research and practice improvement related to the care of children and youth with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders,” write Drs. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Marji Erickson Warfield in the special issue’s introduction. Dr. Zwaigenbaum co-directs the Autism Speaks ATN center at the University of Alberta and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, in Edmonton, Canada. Dr. Warfield directs the Starr Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass.

Much of the research behind the reports was made possible by the ATN Patient Registry, which in turn is made possible by the voluntary participation of families receiving care at one of the 14 ATN centers across the U.S. and Canada.

The work of the ATN/AIR-P is carried out under the guidance of the ATN Clinical Coordinating Center at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, in Boston. The ATN’s role as the AIR-P is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.

Summaries of the articles are available on the website here.

About Autism

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, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum. 

About Autism Speaks

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. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $570 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 70 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit