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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks UK Visits House of Commons

May 25, 2007

Autism Speaks UK held its second annual reception at the House of Commons in London on May 23, 2007. Dame Stephanie Shirley, founder of Autism Speaks UK, addressed the crowd of scientists, doctors, parents and members of Parliament, sharing highlights from the past year and challenges for years ahead.

Among the accomplishments cited by Dame Stephanie was the leadership of Oxford University researcher Tony

Dame Stephanie Shirley prepares to address the reception at the House of Commons

Monaco, who along with Anthony Bailey, also of Oxford, are guiding the second of the Autism Speaks-sponsored Autism Genome Project. She also noted the sponsoring role of Autism Speaks cited by many of the 200 autism researchers who gathered at a UK meeting earlier in the month.

In addition, Dame Stephanie pointed to the active role UK researchers are playing in a global epidemiological network, as well as the collaborative work between UK and North American behavioral and neuroscientists in the study of infant siblings of children with autism.

Among the challenges Dame Stephanie posed to the gathering were to account for the rapid rise in the autism incidence rate, to collaborate

Hilary Gilfoy, right, chief executive of Autism Speaks UK, is interviewed by a BBC Radio 4 reporter next to the Thames

on diagnosis research, and to understand the disorder better and identify the genes responsible.

Dame Stephanie closed by encouraging all those in attendance to become activists and demand and answer to the big question – what causes autism?

to read the entire speech. Click
to visit the Autism Speaks UK website.