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University of Virginia Introduces DRIVE Program for People, Families With Autism

The University of Virginia has developed the Autism Data System for Research Integration, Visualization and Exchange, or DRIVE, a networking and educational resource for people with autism and their families. Ross Nevill, director of the University’s Autism Research Core and research assistant professor of education, said DRIVE is “the first platform of its kind to link a research registry with an online resources database to share educational information with the community. There are other state-based research registries, and there are other state-based resource directories, but we haven’t come across a system linking all of these elements into one.” Micah Mazurek, director of the University of Virginia’s STAR program, described Drive as “an interactive database that allows researchers and members of the community to connect so that we can share opportunities for research with community members including people with autism and their family members as well as professionals.”

DRIVE has already launched two major studies: the first focuses on why autism is diagnosed more commonly in boys than in girls, while the other is focused on developing training modules that can help healthcare workers who treat people with autism bridge the communication gap between provider and patient. DRIVE is currently recruiting participants for five active studies focused on how parents and children play together, the development of reading and writing skills in children with autism, and the healthcare needs of adults with autism, among other issues. Nevill says he and his colleagues plan to tweak and expand DRIVE in the future, so that it can be presented to other organizations and state-level government programs. “We are hopeful and excited to be able to expand the program and help the community,” Nevill was quoted as saying in a report by CavalierDaily.com. Source: https://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2020/03/university-researchers-develop-a-community-resource-to-assist-individuals-with-autism

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