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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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    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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    Anxiety and Autism

    In this webinar, Antonio Hardan, a psychiatrist, discusses recent research into anxiety and autism. He also discusses ways that children and adults with autism can manage anxiety. This webinar is 60 minutes long.

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    SCN2A: An Evolving Picture

    The SCN2A gene has traditionally been linked to early-onset epilepsy. But new research suggests it might account for roughly 1 in 333 cases of autism.

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    Employment and ASD: Preparing for the World of Work

    In this webinar, Ernst VanBergeijk, a professor at Lesley University, discusses employment and job trends for people with autism, skills that help individuals with autism gain and retain jobs and how employers and co-workers can create an autism-friendly workplace. This webinar is 60 minutes long.

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    SYNGAP1

    Changes in SYNGAP1 are linked to intellectual disability, epilepsy and sometimes autism. About two in three people with differences in the SYNGAP1 gene have seizures. People with differences in SYNGAP1 can also suffer from sleep issues, constipation and low muscle tone.

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    ADHD, Anxiety and Autism?

    Some researchers believe that conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression are "under-recognized" in youth with autism, which, in turn, "hampers clinical care and treatment." After all, how can you treat what you don't diagnose?

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