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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.

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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Autism Research From an Autism Dad

In this webinar, Kevin Pelphrey, Ph.D., a professor and neuroscientist, discusses his experiences as the father of a daughter and son with autism. He also discusses how these experiences have shaped his work as a scientist. This webinar is 60 minutes long.

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Autism Researchers Need You!

SPARK works with research partners all over the world. Our goal is to help them find people who want to participate in their studies. These studies may involve anything from an online questionnaire about autism services to a study in a clinic about autism and anxiety.

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Answers for Autism

We asked you what you wanted to know about autism, and you responded with thought-provoking and important questions.

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Teens and Screens: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Cheryl Cohen, M.S., director of online and community programs at the Interactive Autism Network. discusses the latest research, including her own, on how teens with ASD use technology in their day-to-day lives. She also talks about the barriers teens with autism encounter using the Web and parents’ concerns about online safety and screen time. Her discussion also includes an update on various technology careers for individuals with autism.

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Autism Treatments: What We Know and Don’t Know

The speaker for our ninth webinar is Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, M.D., a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist who works at both Columbia University and the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, in White Plains, New York. In this webinar, Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele discusses what kinds of medicines and treatments for autism are out there and how researchers identify what works. He also offers practical advice about different medications and their side effects to parents of children with autism and adults with autism. This webinar is 60 minutes long.

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Why Autism Research Matters

Why should you care about autism research? Simply put, the goal of research is to learn more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and that may mean better treatments and school programs down the road. It also may provide a much better understanding of ASD.

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Understanding Research: An Autism Researcher Answers Your Questions

Consumers and patients are bombarded with information about medical research and autism treatments almost daily. Often these articles and social media posts include terms that can mean many different things. J. Kiely Law, M.D., MPH, research director and co-founder of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), answers some common questions about what research really is and isn’t.

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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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