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People from all over the country are joining SPARK, and they want to share their stories. From anecdotes about registering for SPARK to accounts of how families dealt with diagnoses, SPARK community members are sharing their experiences with one another.

Meet some of our SPARK participants by exploring this section.

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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A Father’s Tale

John Smigle says that participating in typical activities, like boy scouts and baseball, has helped his son Christopher, who has autism, develop social skills.

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CHD8: A Common Cause of Autism

People with changes in this gene have similar symptoms. Scientists hope this knowledge will lead to new treatments and a better understanding of the condition.

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Autism Heroes: Ann Palmer

Over the last 20 years, Ann Palmer has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of families get the autism services and support that they need. Palmer has an adult son with autism. She began working in the field when her son, now 33, was about 9 years old.

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Autism Heroes: Sarah Easterling

Sarah Easterling teaches English and science to fourth-graders at Palmer Elementary School in Missouri City, Texas. At Palmer, children with special needs, including autism and dyslexia, join mainstream classes.

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Autism Heroes: Dr. Patricia Manning

Patty Manning, a developmental pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, sometimes sees patients in unusual places—in a car seat, walking around the hospital’s library, or simply in the clinic hallway. As a specialist treating children with autism spectrum disorders, she follows her patients’ needs and moods on that particular day.

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