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Research & Advances

Many organizations are actively involved in researching Autism. Click here for a summary of the findings of the ACU’s Research Committee, as recently reported at the 2011 annual meeting. Below is more information on the latest Autism research.

Utah Autism Research Program

The Utah Autism Research Program studies autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), which include Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome (AS), PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Not Otherwise Specified). Autism may have many causes, but genetics appears to be important in at least some families. If we are able to recognize which families pass increased risk for autism from parent to child, we may be able to find genes (portions of DNA) that lead to autism. This will be a step toward better understanding of autism, and possibly toward better early detection and treatment.

National Center for Medical Home Implementation

The mission of the National Center for Medical Home Implementation is to work in cooperation with federal agencies, particularly the Material and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and other partners and stakeholders to ensure that all children and youth, including children with special needs, have access to a medical home.  The National Center provides medical home resources, technical assistance and support to physicians, families and other medical and non-medical providers who care for children.  The National Center is housed in the American Academy for Pediatrics Division of Children with Special Needs.

Utah Registry of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (URADD)

Researchers are looking for causes of and possible treatments for ASDs and other disabilities. These studies are going on in Utah and around the nation. Since no one knows for sure what causes ASDs or what are the best treatments for these conditions, these studies are very important.

One kind of study uses information that has already been collected about people who have ASDs or other disabilities. These studies are known as epidemiological studies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sponsoring a national network of large epidemiological studies looking at children with ASDs. URADD was part of this national network. More information about these studies and other studies sponsored by the federal government can be found at the CDC’s Autism Information Center.

There is another kind of study done by health care providers who are looking at either possible causes of ASDs or possible treatments for ASDs. These studies are known as clinical studies. Researchers need people who have an ASD and/or their families to be part of these studies. Taking part in a study can sometimes be helpful for families. However, people who have an ASD or their families should look very carefully at any research study before they agree to take part in it.