$7.8 Million Grants for Autism

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This past fall of 2014, new grants to fund cross-lifespan services research for autism spectrum disorder were awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health. (NIMH) The grants aim to improve developing effective and real-world-ready approaches to provide better early diagnosis, support, and treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. (ASD)

There were a total of 12 research grants awarded as part of an initiative to provide better models of services and delivery for children, youth, and young adults with ASD. The initiative aims to reach across a variety of socio-economic groups, diverse communities, and care settings.

There have been progressive gains in research and understanding on the biology of autism, but at the same time, access to effective treatments and services continue to be stunted in comparison to the biological research development. Many individuals with autism and families with an autistic child struggle to have access to the appropriate and needed services.

The symptoms of ASD generally emerge in early childhood and the numbers of those diagnosed continue to clime. In March 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated the current rate of autism to one in 68 children.

“Despite the significant number of people of all ages identified with ASD, access to effective services remains inconsistent at best. Parents are often left to navigate what is available as best they can, and worry for the future as their affected children grow into adulthood. This research is aimed at testing care strategies, adaptable across communities, in which identification of need and engagement in optimal interventions and services will be standard for all ages.” Stated NIMH Director Thomas Insel.

The total grant-funding amount is $7.9 million in the first year of funding for the cumulative 12 grants. Each research project is designated to address particular issues in specific age groups. Five projects focus on early childhood development, four projects on transition-aged children, and three projects on adults with ASD.

Juliano-Bult, chief of NIMH’s Systems Research Program and the Disparities in Mental Health Services Research Program stated, “The studies will provide a critical evidence base on how community services can improve the treatment, functioning, and community integration of people with ASD at important life stages.”

To read more about each research project funded, read the original article here. If you liked this post, please share or comment below.

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