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The Daily Brief

January 07, 2016

Family Agrees to Donate Brains for Autism Research

Jill Briesch, a tax accountant from Dallas, TX who has two sons with autism is donating her brain, along with the rest of her family, to doctors to help research for autism. She and her family are also the DFW ambassador family for the Autism BrainNet Initiative that you can learn more about here.

Briesch shares with NBC Dallas Fort Worth about the donation, “It'll belong to science. Whenever any member of our family is no longer using our brains, when we have passed on, we have committed to donate our brains for autism research.” Read more of her story here.

Young Entrepreneur Featured in Forbes for Autism Glass Project

Forbes recently released its "30 Under 30" list of young promising entrepreneurs. Featured on the list is Catalin Voss, founder of the Autism Glass Project. A tool designed to help people with autism decipher facial expressions by delivering real-time social cues. See a demo of the project here.

Creating an Autism Lear​ning Network

This year, the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P is partnering with the Anderson Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to build a Learning Network in autism care. A Learning Network enables patients and families, clinicians, researchers and communities to collaborate in quality improvement, innovation, and research to improve care and outcomes for children. Read more.

Hillary Clinton announces new aut​ism plan

Autism Speaks urges all the presidential candidates to come forward with a plan to address the needs of people living with autism. We have provided a blueprint that Autism Speaks believes is essential to good public policy. A national plan should be built around enhanced state and federal advocacy, groundbreaking advances in science and research, and a full discussion of the barriers to, and opportunities for, addressing the housing, transition and employment needs of those with autism. 

The Israeli Army Unit That Recruits Teens With Autism

The Atlantic reported about an Israeli Army Unit called the Israel Defense Force’s “Visual Intelligence Division” also known as Unit 9900, which recruits Israelis on the autism spectrum to be part of their unit. Their focus now has become on recruiting teens with autism who have heightened perceptual skills. Read more of the story here

The day I told the world I have autism

In this In Our Own Words post, Kerry Magro, a national speaker and best-selling author shares about the decision to tell his peers about his autism diagnosis. Magro told them, “autism cannot define who you are, only you can define autism” Read more here. Have a story about growing up on the autism spectrum? Share it with us at

Tool Could Help Police Tailor Response T​o Those With Special Needs

When Freya Colella’s older son had “a meltdown” last month and barricaded himself inside his bedroom, she called the Brunswick police for help. Read more at Disability Scoop.

Top 10 autism research stories o​f 2015

Top 10 autism news stories of 2015

From caring santa, to Ellen and the New York Jets, to Sesame Street's big announcement, take a look back at the top 10 most-read autism news articles of 2015. See the full list.

Autism Speaks ‘Food for Thought’ advice column: Best of 2015

The year’s most-read and shared answers to your food and feeding questions, by experts in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. See the full list.

Top 5 autism videos of 2015

Check out our list of the top five autism-focused videos of 2015.

2015: A year of ABLE momentum

One year ago this month, advocates across the country celebrated a victory eight years in the making when President Obama signed the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. This landmark achievement, which was made possible by the hard work of our champions on Capitol Hill and dedicated grassroots networks across the country, raised a question: how quickly would states act to make ABLE programs available? Read more here.

10 inspiring stories from people with autism in 2015

We are inspired! These self-advocates have shared their stories of growing up with autism as part of our “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum” blog series. Have a story you’d like to share email us at and you could be featured on our website! Read more here

Autism Speaks ‘Got Questions?’ advice column: Best of 2015

The year’s most-read advice from specialists responding to your questions on autism-related health and behavioral issues. See the full list.

Top 10 autism awareness gifts ​of 2015

Here are 10 ways to spread autism awareness: from t-shirts, to wristbands, to magnets and more! Every purchase on allows Autism Speaks to continue its search for the causes and most effective treatments for autism and provide information, tools, and resources to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by autism. See the full list.

Top 10 Autism Speaks tool kits of 2015!

Autism Speaks Tool Kits on topics ranging from toilet training and new diagnoses to housing and postsecondary education were downloaded over 140,000 times in 2015! See the full list.

The World of Autism PSA

Autism Speaks joined the Ad Council and BBDO New York, the long-time volunteer agency for Autism Speaks, to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to help parents recognize the early signs of autism and take immediate action. For the first time in the campaign’s history, the new PSAs feature an imaginative world, created using 3D and stop-motion animation, inspired by stories of real children with autism and told from the perspective of a child with autism. The PSAs are an extension of the award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign, created by BBDO, which has helped significantly increase the percentage of parents who recognize the early warning signs of autism.