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Read more about: Parenting

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.

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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What Is The ABLE Act?

In this webinar, Stuart Spielman, J.D. discusses the history of the ABLE Act, how many states have implemented ABLE and how ABLE accounts work. This webinar is 60 minutes long.

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Helping Students with Autism Navigate Back-to-School Time

Returning to school after summer vacation can be hard for any child. For a student with autism, this time of year can be especially stressful. Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have trouble adjusting to change. In fact, “insistence on sameness” and “difficulties with transition” are symptoms of ASD. A new classroom, schedule, teachers, classmates, or new school can trigger distress far beyond the typical back-to-school blues.

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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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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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Partnering for Autism

Our fifth webinar, moderated by Alison Singer, MBA, features Ann Palmer of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and Patricia Manning, M.D. of the Kelly O’Leary Center. In this webinar, our speakers discuss different approaches to partnering in the autism community. Each speaker brings a different perspective about how developing relationships from within the community enhance program outcomes. This webinar is 45 minutes long.

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Practical Strategies to Address Challenging Behavior

Children with autism can present with challenging behavior. Problem behavior can significantly interfere with and limit educational and social opportunities, negatively impact family functioning, and if not addressed can limit overall community integration experiences. This talk will provide an overview of the potential reasons why problem behavior exists and practical strategies that parents and teachers can implement to prevent the development of problem behavior. This webinar is 90 minutes long.

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Meet Sunghee Park

Sunghee Park and her family have a packed schedule. They participated in SPARK because online participation is perfect for her and her son.

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