In honor of Autism Awareness month, our Community Impact Feature for April is the Autism Science Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to “support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.” With the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta reported that approximately 1 in 88 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2008 and current actual reasoned to be much higher, the need for autism awareness and research is, by sheer necessity, growing.
As a foundation devoted to furthering autism research, the Autism Science Foundation is based on these facts and principles, taken directly from their website (emphasis my own):
- Autism is known to have a strong genetic component. Research must aim to discover the mechanisms of action that trigger autism, as well as safe, effective and novel treatments to enhance the quality of life for children and adults currently affected.
- Early diagnosis and early intervention are critical to helping people with autism reach their potential, but educational, vocational and support services must be applied across the lifespan. Science has a critical role to play in creating evidence-based, effective lifespan interventions.
- Vaccines save lives; they do not cause autism. Numerous studies have failed to show a causal link between vaccines and autism. Vaccine safety research should continue to be conducted by the public health system in order to ensure vaccine safety and maintain confidence in our national vaccine program, but further investment of limited autism research dollars is not warranted at this time.
The Autism Science Foundation provides online assistance understanding Autism, its symptoms and treatments, along with addressing vaccination fears. Their blog creates another fantastic resource for families on the spectrum by providing information in a way people can understand.
As part of their on-going support of families, the Autism Science Foundation collaborates with many organizations around the nation in accordance with the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research. The Autism Science Foundation has “awarded nearly half a million dollars in research grants in its first two years” and “provided funding for over 20 stakeholders and over a dozen scientists to attend the International Meeting for Autism Research.”
In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, the Autism Science Foundation created this 30 day calendar of ways to take action for autism and is using their Pinterest account to promote the program and give people individual activities every day.
I hope you take some time this month to get to know ASF and learn more about autism.
Image Credit: The Autism Science Foundation
Please note that I am in no way affiliated with The Autism Science Foundation and did not receive any type of stipend or payment for featuring this organization. As always, Community Features are NEVER sponsored and are always hand-picked by me. Amanda.