Today, I am happy to share the results of the Autism Speaks Science Planning Survey. Let me begin by extending tremendous thanks to the more than 6,000 people who completed the survey – including nearly 500 individuals on the autism spectrum, more than 4,000 of their family members and more than 1,700 researchers, clinicians and educators.
Your input provides integral guidance for our next three-year strategic plan for science, which we look forward to announcing later this year.
So what did we learn from our broad and diverse community? We saw strong support across the range of basic and applied autism research. Overall, we saw particularly strong support for research aimed at health and well-being, autism’s associated physical and mental health conditions, the transition into adulthood and life-span issues. This included the development of new behavioral therapies and social supports, as well as new medical treatments and improved screening and earlier diagnosis of both autism and its many associated health conditions.
Most importantly, perhaps, we are encouraged to see the strong alignment between the community’s input and the pillars of Autism Speaks mission “to enhance lives today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow” – with an emphasis on being a catalyst for research breakthroughs.
Already, your input is guiding the formation of our strategic planning for the next three years, and it will continue to do so in the weeks ahead as we finalize the plan and share it with you.
For those of you who would like to delve further into the survey findings, we’ve posted a question-by-question summary of the responses here.
With thanks and best wishes,
Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazier