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Discover SPARK

Get the latest autism updates from SPARK, including information about genes and ASD research, webinars, and personal stories from our community.

Our 'genes' page provides short, easy-to-understand descriptions of genes linked to autism. Under 'research', you'll find the latest updates from SPARK and other autism studies. In our 'stories' section, families, scientists and others share their journeys. In our monthly webinars, speakers from the autism community provide useful information for families and people with autism. All are welcome--invitation links are issued in our monthly newsletter. If you have suggestions for webinar topics, please email us at webinars@sparkforautism.org.

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    Four Things to Know About Environmental Autism Risk Factors

    Our next webinar will be on Wednesday, February 28, from 12 to 1 PM EST and is cohosted with the Simons Simplex Collection: (SSC) @IAN community.

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    Supersized Research

    To understand the genetics of autism, scientists have to study a lot of people. Pamela Feliciano, Ph.D., SPARK's scientific director, discusses the challenges of engaging a large group in research.

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    FOXP1

    People with mutations in FOXP1 have what is known as FOXP1-related syndrome. They often have intellectual disability, developmental delay and autism-like behaviors.

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    SHANK3

    SHANK3 is one of the genes most commonly linked to autism. Nearly 1 percent of people with autism have changes in this gene.

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    Categorizing Autism Based on Genes

    In the TIGER study, researchers are searching for common symptoms among people with changes in the same genes.

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    ASXL3

    People with a disruption in the ASXL3 gene typically have severe intellectual disability, impaired speech and features of autism. They may also have low muscle tone, significant feeding difficulties and distinctive facial features, such as a prominent forehead and arched eyebrows. The condition is also known as Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome.

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    Special Interests in Autism

    Special interests can offer people with autism opportunities to socialize and to highlight their strengths. These interests can sometimes even grow into a career.

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    Creating a Culture of Prevention: Addressing Autism in Today’s Criminal Justice System

    In this webinar, Leigh Ann Davis and Samantha Crane discuss individual strategies and system reforms that could increase the safety of individuals with autism when interacting with police and the criminal justice system. This webinar is 60 minutes long.

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    Autism As You Age

    In this Facebook Live discussion, Dr. Catherine Lord, a licensed clinical psychologist, discusses how autism evaluations and supports change as individuals with autism get older. She also discusses the value of an autism diagnosis. This discussion is 30 minutes long.

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    SYNGAP1: From Rare Disorder to Common Cause

    Since learning of her son’s diagnosis in 2012, Monica Weldon has helped build a community of scientists and families dedicated to understanding SYNGAP1.

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