Deepening our understanding of autism. Improving the lives of people across the autism spectrum.
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As described in the Autism Speaks Strategic Plan for Science, our main goals are:
- Seek the causes and types of autism
- Lower the average age of diagnosis to under 2 years
- Expand services across the lifespan
- Enhance medical treatment of autism’s associated health conditions.
We pursue these goals through the following programs.
Thought Leadership Summit on Autism and Aging
This June, Autism Speaks hosted a virtual Thought Leadership Summit on Autism and Aging bringing together families, self-advocates, researchers and policymakers to discuss the issues facing autistic adults as they age.
The goal: To explore the needs of autistic adults as they age and identify directions for future research and policy.
Over two days of sessions, presenters shared the top challenges faced by aging autistic adults, discussed policy considerations, provided an overview of the existing research and identified opportunities for further action to support this community.
MSSNG provides autism researchers with free access to thousands of sequenced genomes from families affected by autism.
The goal: To speed the development of more effective and personalized interventions for autism and its associated health conditions.
MSSNG has grown into one of the world’s largest open-access genome databases.
* To date, more than 9,000 people (with autism or in families affected by autism) have contributed genetic material for sequencing.
* More than 100 autism researchers are analyzing MSSNG data at 55 institutions in 13 countries.
We are also creating a MSSNG community portal. It will help participants understand the genetic variations that affect them. They can opt to connect with others affected by similar genes.
Participate in autism research
Use our Participate in Research search engine to find studies and surveys seeking participants in the autism community.
Global Autism Public Health
Through GAPH, Autism Speaks helps underserved communities meet the needs of the world’s growing autism population.
The goal: To deliver practical and culturally appropriate services that improve lives.
We do this through research and partnerships with families, researchers, advocacy groups and governments in more than 70 countries.
Autism Speaks helped develop the World Health Organization’s Caregiver Skills Training program. Our staff is now helping test and refine the program in a broad range of underserved communities in the United States and abroad.
Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships
Autism Speaks’ research fellowships support groundbreaking research by early career investigators, under the guidance of the field’s leaders.
The goal: To launch the careers of highly promising autism researchers, while advancing research that improves lives.
Already, many of our fellows have made important discoveries about autism and how to better meet the needs of people on the spectrum.
Autism Care Network
The Autism Care Network is the first and only network of its kind focused on better autism care, delivered at scale and at speed, to improve health and quality of life for children with autism and their families throughout North America.
The goal: To improve the health of people with autism.
The Autism Care Network is a groundbreaking shift that transforms how better care is developed, connecting the dots between families, researchers, and health care teams to continuously improve whole-person and whole-family autism care, including the health conditions that often accompany autism. Launched in April 2021, the Network is supported by Autism Speaks, AIR-P, the J. Donald Lee and Laurelle Lee Family Foundation and PCORnet.
As a learning health system, the learning begins with patient insights, which drive research questions to understand what treatments are most helpful for which patients. Then these findings are shared to providers across the Network and in local communities. This significant shift in autism care improvements accelerates research findings and gets them into provider’s offices years earlier than traditional research.
With 20 sites across the United States and Canada – and more sites joining each year –people across the spectrum will benefit sooner from research findings, be empowered to reach their full potential and improve their quality of life — faster and regardless of geography.
Autism Speaks Advocacy
Autism Speaks is committed to encouraging scientific advancements through policy. We believe that our country needs to do more to support research that will improve treatments and services to ensure each person on the spectrum is able to meet their full potential. The best catalyst for this effort would be for elected officials to join us in our call to double the federal investment in autism research.