Special Initiatives and Grants

The issues facing the autism community remain as urgent as ever. At Autism Speaks we believe all people with autism can lead fulfilling lives. But we need your help.

Your support can directly impact research and future therapies. It can promote understanding and acceptance. And, it can provide a spectrum of solutions for the autism community.

Advancing Life-Enhancing Research Breakthroughs

Autism Speaks science has led major breakthroughs to better help people with autism.

Today, we have a better understanding of the biology of autism and the treatment of medical and mental health conditions commonly associated with autism.

But there is much more to be done.

Opportunities to support our Science efforts include investments in:

  • Discovery Science through research initiatives such as MSSNG, a visionary gene bank established to understand the genetic underpinnings of autism. Learn how you can support groundbreaking discovery of autism biology.

  • Translational Science through PACT, the Preclinical Autism Consortium for Therapeutics. PACT is a primary vehicle for turning the discoveries of MSSNG and other basic science projects into potential solutions for patients. With your help, we can speed discovery into solutions.
  • Applied Science through the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, a major leader in developing healthcare guidelines for people with autism. The Network has conducted several clinical trials of near-term solutions and with your support can do so much more.
  • Early Career Science Donors can play a vital role by increasing our funding of the best and brightest autism research scientists at the earliest stages in their career. There are many levels of support with this grant program and can include naming opportunities.
  • Special Grant Opportunities through special requests for proposals (RFPs) target areas in need of attention or those nearing a tipping point for change.  RFP’s can target adult transition, clinical trials of near-term solutions, work on personalized treatments and more.  We invite donors who want to be on the forefront of change to have a conversation.
  • Advocacy  for increased discovery and development in the autism scientific field. Help educate opinion leaders and highlight the need and impact of autism research.

Increasing Early Childhood Screening and Timely Intervention

We now know that many children can be reliably identified with autism by age 2. But the national average remains at age 4. You can make a difference. 

We know that early diagnosis and intervention creates the basis for the best outcomes across the spectrum. Opportunities for investment include:

  • Early Development for Screening Programs designed to empower parents and caregivers, educate physicians and policymakers. With your support we can develop more efficient and cost-effective tools to help underserved children receive early screening.

  • Intervention Behavior Management and Social Skills Training that can deliver low-cost, evidence-based services to families in underserved communities. We know early intervention improves outcomes –help make that happen for more children.

Transition to Adulthood

Research shows that job activities encourage independence. They can also reduce autism symptoms and increase daily living skills.

Through donor support, we can expand on proven programs and develop new opportunities to enhance the lives of adults with autism.  Opportunities for investment include:

  • Employment through increased employment and work inclusion initiatives. Over 80% of people with autism remain unemployed. Many are willing and able to work – but they need our help.
  • Housing and Residential Care efforts to increase caregiver education and fund advocacy efforts for housing supports and services. Waiting lists are long. Housing is expensive and for many, unaffordable. With your support, we can raise our voice and be heard.
  • Services and Support Access that make sure families living with autism receive reliable information at any age.

Sponsorship and naming opportunities are available. Areas can include direct response support, technology, personalized services and online learning, town halls and community education.

Advancing Global Understanding and Acceptance

More than 90 percent of the world’s autism community lives in low- and middle-income countries. Many face isolation, limited access to services and support and high costs of care.

To promote change, we must make sure that the public is aware of the kinds of difficulties people with autism face. There are many ways to help:

  • Public Service Campaigns can help increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism. It can also show the importance of research and access to care.
  • World Autism Month during each April is a great opportunity to highlight autism issues and increase outreach.
  • Creation of a Global Report Card in partnership with the World Health Organization would enable the first-of-its-kind “State of Autism” report.  Through this report we would be able to review program and policy progress.
  • Evidence-based studies on growth and need would put real data behind the need for services and research.
  • Promotion of Autism-Friendly events would help increase understanding and create more tolerant communities.

Norma and Malcolm Baker Recreation Programs

More than 50 percent of our Baker Recreation Program grants serve financially underserved communities.

Programs include social and educational experiences such as physical fitness, summer swimming and recreational camp programs.

The newest addition to the program is the NXT Gen Coders grant to teach young and older adults with autism computer programming skills. Baker Recreation Programs provide a great opportunity for donors to make an immediate impact.