Interested in joining SPARK? Here’s what you should know:
There are many reasons to participate and the choice is always yours!
SPARK is for all individuals living in the U.S. with a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their family members.
You can create a SPARK account if you are an independent adult with a professional diagnosis of ASD, or if you are the legal guardian of a person with a professional diagnosis of ASD.
We believe our study will transform autism research and improve the lives of families and individuals with autism.
By learning more about the causes of autism, we hope to add valuable scientific insights into potential treatments and actions that might prevent issues that are common in ASD. Some of these issues may be digestive problems including constipation, or neurological conditions such as seizures. By participating in SPARK you can make a difference for someone in the future!
Giving back to our participants is important to us. Not everyone in SPARK will have genetic findings associated with autism. We are dedicated to making your participation worthwhile.
We provide personalized survey reports, access to other research opportunities,and Amazon.com gift card codes as a thank you for your time and effort.
We estimate that we will find genetic results related to autism in around 10% of our participants. Even if you do not receive a genetic result, your participation can help increase the number of genes and genetic changes known to be related to autism. This helps more participants receive results in the future. SPARK’s gene list can be found here. You can learn more in this interactive article and in SPARK’s Genetic Analysis FAQ.
Your online registration will take about 20 minutes.
You can join SPARK in English or Spanish. Please note that not all SPARK surveys and website features are available in Spanish at this time.
Right now, the registration pages, consent forms, participant dashboard, saliva collection, and select surveys are available in Spanish. If you can read and understand English you may prefer to participate in English by clicking on the 'Join Us' or the 'SPARK in English' button above. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
If you are eligible to participate, we will ask you to share important information about yourself and participating family members.
This information helps us create the right kind of account for you. During registration we can also match you with a SPARK team in your local area. They can help you register if you have any questions!
We may ask you to invite family members. All families are different. If your family members are not able to participate, no problem – you still can!
If you are an Autistic adult: you can invite your biological parents and an adult sibling.
If you are a biological parent of a person with ASD: you can invite their other biological parent.
If you are an adoptive parent or guardian of a person with ASD: you can invite their biological parents.
Information on other family members is part of the bigger picture! As a starting place, we are focusing on the most immediate biological relatives.
This study has two consents forms – a “Data Consent” and a “Genetic Consent”. Please read and review these carefully and email us if you have any questions!
The Data Consent asks for permission to collect and share your data, and to be contacted for other research opportunities.
The Genetic Consent asks for permission to analyze your genetic information (DNA) from saliva samples. Not interested in sending in a saliva sample? No problem – you can still participate in SPARK! (Why are genes important in autism research? Read more here!)
If you agree to provide a saliva sample, we will send a free saliva kit to your mailing address. The box will have a prepaid return label already on it. Be sure to read the instructions included in the box!
It is important that the contact information you provide in registration is accurate.
SPARK is a long-term study. That means we will be around for many years! We sometimes need to reach participants via phone, email, or post about participation, account information, or in some cases, about surveys or genetic results.
Registering is just the beginning...
Participation includes surveys and other research opportunities, resources, webinars, and more!
Over time, we will ask you to complete new surveys on your private SPARK dashboard. You may be invited to participate in both online and in-person research studies through our Research Match program. We will keep you up-to-date on our research through our Newsletter. We encourage you to join our monthly webinars and explore other articles and resources on our website.
Your information will be kept private and secure.
We will never share your data without your permission or with other parties not specified in our consent forms. We will never sell your data.
There is no cost to participate.
And what’s more – we’ll provide up to $50 in Amazon gift card codes when you return your family’s saliva samples. You may even qualify for more gift cards along the way.
We can’t wait for you to start this journey with us!
We look forward to working together to advance our understanding of autism for years and decades to come. Ready to get started?
If participating in SPARK is not right for you or your family, but you want to stay connected with us, please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media!
Thank you! We will be in touch!