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A village meeting of autism acceptance advocates and community health workers in rural Rwanda in July 2023.


Identifying Autism in Rwanda

In rural Africa, people with autism and other disabilities are stigmatized and routinely hidden indoors. This summer, the MN UCEDD trained community health workers in Rwanda on identifying the signs of autism in children and on principles for addressing the needs of people with disabilities in rural areas.



Prevalence: Extending ICI's Research

For years, researchers at the MN UCEDD have estimated autism prevalence among Minnesota school children. Now the researchers are also estimating the prevalence of cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy.

Spectrum Scholars Melissa Gatti and Andrew Martin, and Spectrum Scholars Program Manager Wes Garton, smile for the camera.


Making an impact: the Delaware UCEDD's Spectrum Scholars

Spectrum Scholars, a college-to-career program for autistic students that's administered by the University of Delaware's Center for Disabilities Studies, has turned out its first graduates. Andrew Martin graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in Applied Molecular Biology & Biotechnology and in June began work as a biotechnician at SDIX, an immuno-solutions company specializing in large-scale antibody production. Melissa Gatti graduated with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and is continuing her studies in an accelerated master's program.



AIR-P Cureus Channel

AIR-P is excited to promote and share our recently launched Channel on Cureus, Autism and Health: Across the Lifespan. We are seeking research and commentaries that share AIR-P's mission to support innovative life course intervention research that promotes optimal health and well-being of autistic individuals across the lifespan.



The Conversation Continues: When it Comes to Autism, Can We Reconcile the Medical and Social Models of Disability?

On June 15, I (Jason Folger, PhD) had the pleasure of re-convening nearly all of the panelists and speakers from the NE Regional Spring LEND Conference of May 8: When it Comes to Autism, Can We Reconcile the Medical and Social Models of Disability? The conference focused on the idea of exploring and reconciling the polarized ideas circulating in popular media that celebrating one's neurodiversity as an autistic person somehow diminishes or invalidates the emotional pain of caregivers of individuals living with what has come to be known as "profound autism" and vice-versa.



AIR-P Launches New Academic Channel in Cureus

The Autism and Health: Across the Lifespan Channel (Autism and Health Channel) was founded in 2023 to promote research to increase the life expectancy and quality of life of autistic individuals. With broad support from national collaborative research entities, the goal of this academic channel is to serve as a forum to disseminate scientific articles which contribute to the evidence base of health promotion for autistic individuals and their families across the lifespan.



UM-NSU CARD Constituency Board Members Visit State Capitol

Five Constituency Board Members from University of Miami - Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities visited the state capitol of Tallahassee to both thank representatives who have supported UM-NSU CARD and educate policymakers on the importance of resources for the autism community to be included in the state budget.



A Qualitative Investigation on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Neurodivergent Communities

Over the course of 2 years, the student led group, Neurodiversity Health Chats at UCLA has published their explorative work on vaccine hesitancy in the neurodivergent community!



Autism and the Dysregulated Arousal System

By Rebecca Grzadzinski, Kattia Mata, and Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera, The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities - UNC IDDRC

How do babies learn to be social? Babies are born into the world with so much to learn, from basic body movements to complex communication and interaction skills. Philosopher John Locke believed that babies are born into the world as "blank slates" (tabula rasas)-everything to learn will be gained from their environment and experience1. Indeed, environment and experience are critical for learning-studies on enriched environments highlight this. However, research continues to highlight the influence of inherent characteristics, underlying neurobiology and genetics on how and what we learn or know. Researchers aim to understand what and how we learn by studying the dynamic interplay between inherent biological traits, physiological states, and the environment.



EDI-Self-Report (EDI-SR) Survey

The purpose of this new research study is to create a questionnaire known as the EDI-Self-Report (EDI-SR). This project is funded by the Eunice Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD). The EDI-SR was designed to measure emotional experiences in autistic teens and adults and teens and adults with other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This study is enrolling individuals ages 11 and older who are autistic or have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) and their parents/caregivers, as well as individuals without these diagnoses. Individuals must be current United States residents to participate.



Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Researcher Works to Enhance Therapy Processes with and for Autistic People

Autistic people are more likely to experience mental health distress than the general population. Unfortunately, therapy services for this community are limited and rarely designed with and for autistic people. Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC)(TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) researcher Jessica Schwartzman, Ph.D., recently co-authored a paper* in the journal Autism which outlines the development and testing of an autism-adapted, measurement-based care** system (MBC-AUT) to enhance therapy processes for autistic people and their families.

Isabelle Morris (left) writes with a pen while a writing student with a developmental disability looks on.


Autistic, Not Sorry

Isabelle Morris (left) is a MN LEND fellow and autism researcher who describes herself as "unapologetically autistic." She's among a growing group of autistic researchers using their lived experience to shape the future of autism research.

A view from the back of an audience toward a stage with two men and a women sitting on three tall chairs and another woman wearing a red shirt standing at a podium holding a microphone at a past Autism Across the Life Span conference


Autism Across the Life Span Annual Conference

Autism Across the Life Span brings together researchers, students, educators, people with autism and their families to Overland Park, Kan., on March 24. Presented by the Kansas Center for Autism Research & Training at the University of Kansas Life Span Institute, the conference will feature presentations from nationally recognized scientists, as well as discussions on inclusion in research, neurodiversity, transitions in life and more.



SPARK Uncovers Moderate-effect Genes that Cause Autism

A recent study at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital-one of AUCD's Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Centers or IDDRCs-used SPARK data to identify a new class of moderate-effect genes that are associated with less likelihood of intellectual disability and may reveal more about autism and brain development.



JFK Partners Approved for $2,780,297 Million for a Study Comparing Approaches of Two School-Based Interventions to Manage Anxiety in Autistic Students

Funds awarded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

A research team at University of Colorado School of Medicine, JFK Partners, led by Judy Reaven, Ph.D. has been approved for a $2,780,297 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study A Comparison of Two School-Based Interventions to Manage Anxiety in Autistic Students.

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