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Brief Report: A Survey of Autism Research Priorities Across a Diverse Community of Stakeholders

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Inclusion of stakeholder voices in the allocation of research funding can increase the relevance of results and improve community engagement in research. We describe the results of an online survey that gathered input from community stakeholders regarding autism research priorities. A demographically diverse sample of respondents (N = 6004; 79.1% female; 72.5% ages 30–59; 86.4% USA) completed the survey. Results indicated a preference for applied relative to basic science topics, though both basic and applied science areas were rated as important. Respondents gave their highest ratings to research focused on co-occurring conditions, health and well-being, adult transition, and lifespan issues. These results can guide decision-making by public and private funders when developing science funding priorities and engaging in science dissemination activities.
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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (2018) 48:3965–3971
Brief Report: ASurvey ofAutism Research Priorities Across aDiverse
Community ofStakeholders
ThomasW.Frazier1· GeraldineDawson2· DonnaMurray1· AndyShih3· JessicaSnyderSachs4· AngelaGeiger4
Published online: 15 June 2018
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Inclusion of stakeholder voices in the allocation of research funding can increase the relevance of results and improve com-
munity engagement in research. We describe the results of an online survey that gathered input from community stakeholders
regarding autism research priorities. A demographically diverse sample of respondents (N = 6004; 79.1% female; 72.5% ages
30–59; 86.4% USA) completed the survey. Results indicated a preference for applied relative to basic science topics, though
both basic and applied science areas were rated as important. Respondents gave their highest ratings to research focused on
co-occurring conditions, health and well-being, adult transition, and lifespan issues. These results can guide decision-making
by public and private funders when developing science funding priorities and engaging in science dissemination activities.
Keywords Autism· Research priorities· Caregivers· Funding· Stakeholders· Adult transition
Over the last two decades, research has identified and
begun to explain the etiologic and phenotypic heteroge-
neity of autism (de la Torre-Ubieta etal. 2016; Georgia-
des etal. 2014). Increases in public and private/non-profit
research funding have been an important part of promot-
ing autism research advances. From 2008 to 2015, autism
research funding in the US (public and private) expanded
from $222million to $343million, with projected increases
to $496million by 2020 (source: NIH Reporter) (National
Institutes of Health 2017). Expanded funding has paralleled
increases in the number of autism publications, from < 500
in 2000 to > 3500 in 2015 (source: US National Library of
Medicine PubMed database search) (Ncbi Resource Coor-
dinators 2017). Similarly, the number of patent applications
relevant to autism increased from 4 in 2001 to almost 60
in 2014 (source: US Patent and Trademark Office AppFT)
(US Patent and Trademark Office 2017). While not every
research area has received strong funding, investigations
have proceeded on a wide front, with topics ranging from
genetics and basic neuroscience to cognition and behavior
to clinical trials and quality of life. As the cohorts of young
children diagnosed during the expansion of autism aware-
ness have progressed to adolescence and early adulthood,
research into understudied topics such as adult transition has
also increased. However, absolute funding levels for services
and lifespan research—areas important to the quality of life
of many individuals and families—lag behind (Interagency
Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) October 2017).
Understanding the wide range of needs and desires of
people that are directly affected by autism, including per-
sons on the spectrum and families, as well as providers
(clinicians and educators) and researchers, is important in
setting priorities regarding autism research funding. (Pel-
licano etal. 2014a, b). Including viewpoints of those with
autism and their families as well as those who work directly
with persons on the spectrum, such as therapists and teach-
ers, in decision-making can increase the benefits that future
research delivers to individuals and families, iteratively
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (https :// 3-018-3642-6) contains
supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Thomas W. Frazier
1 Science Department, Autism Speaks, 1 East 33rd Street 4th
Floor, NewYork, NY10016, USA
2 Department ofPsychiatry andBehavioral Sciences, Duke
University, Durham, NC, USA
3 Global Autism Public Health, Autism Speaks, NewYork,
4 Autism Speaks, NewYork, USA
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... 6,16,17 In contrast, many do not endorse efforts to find causes of autism. 15,[18][19][20][21][22] In a recent survey (n=6,004) with autistic (8.1%) and non-autistic respondents, studies on genetic markers and prenatal screening arose as an area to avoid. 18 Standing in contrast to traditional positions of non-autistic-led charities, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network has issued a position statement: "As genetic research continues to develop, autistic people must have our say in how it should be used, and not used." ...
... 15,[18][19][20][21][22] In a recent survey (n=6,004) with autistic (8.1%) and non-autistic respondents, studies on genetic markers and prenatal screening arose as an area to avoid. 18 Standing in contrast to traditional positions of non-autistic-led charities, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network has issued a position statement: "As genetic research continues to develop, autistic people must have our say in how it should be used, and not used." 23 While several studies have surveyed caregivers' and clinicians' views (e.g., 19,24,25 ), surveys on autistic perspectives and priorities regarding genetic research and testing are scarce. ...
... 23 While several studies have surveyed caregivers' and clinicians' views (e.g., 19,24,25 ), surveys on autistic perspectives and priorities regarding genetic research and testing are scarce. 6,16,18 An ableist lens has shaped biomedical research, potentially biasing scientific development. 7,26 Ableism is common in healthcare 27 and autism research 28 and has shaped the contemporary research agenda: historically and currently, autism-related research has largely been built upon the assumption that autism needs to be prevented, eliminated, or treated. ...
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Equitable and just genetic research and clinical translation require an examination of the ethical questions pertaining to vulnerable and marginalized communities. Autism research and advocate communities have expressed concerns over current practices of genetics research, urging the field to shift towards paradigms and practices that ensure benefits and avoid harm to research participants and the wider autistic community. Building upon a framework of bioethical principles, we provide the background for the concerns and present recommendations for ethically sustainable and justice-oriented genetic and genomic autism research. With the primary goal of enhancing the health, well-being, and autonomy of autistic persons, we make recommendations to guide priority setting, responsible research conduct, and informed consent practices. Further, we discuss the ethical challenges particularly pertaining to research involving highly vulnerable individuals and groups, such as those with impaired cognitive or communication ability. Finally, we consider the clinical translation of autism genetics studies, including the use of genetic testing. These guidelines, developed by an interdisciplinary working group comprising autistic and non-autistic individuals, will aid in leveraging the potential of genetics research to enhance the quality of life of autistic individuals and are widely applicable across stigmatized traits and vulnerable communities.
... Mental health has been identified as a top priority research area for autistic adults [14]. Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community [15]. ...
... • Interventions which target outcomes contradictory to the identified priorities of the autistic community [14,24,[48][49][50]. ...
... This includes training needs of autistic people and non-autistic people. Reviews particularly identified transition into employment as a key time requiring focussed attention [14]. ...
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Background: Autistic adults have high risk of mental ill-health and some available interventions have been associated with increased psychiatric diagnoses. Understanding prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses is important to inform the development of individualised treatment and support for autistic adults which have been identified as a research priority by the autistic community. Interventions require to be evaluated both in terms of effectiveness and regarding their acceptability to the autistic community. Objective: This rapid review identified the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in autistic adults, then systematic reviews of interventions aimed at supporting autistic adults were examined. A rapid review of prevalence studies was completed concurrently with an umbrella review of interventions. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines were followed, including protocol registration (PROSPERO#CRD42021283570). Data sources: MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Study eligibility criteria: English language; published 2011-2022; primary studies describing prevalence of psychiatric conditions in autistic adults; or systematic reviews evaluating interventions for autistic adults. Appraisal and synthesis: Bias was assessed using the Prevalence Critical Appraisal Instrument and AMSTAR2. Prevalence was grouped according to psychiatric diagnosis. Interventions were grouped into pharmacological, employment, psychological or mixed therapies. Strength of evidence for interventions was assessed using GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation). Autistic researchers within the team supported interpretation. Results: Twenty prevalence studies were identified. Many included small sample sizes or failed to compare their sample group with the general population reducing validity. Prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses was variable with prevalence of any psychiatric diagnosis ranging from 15.4% to 79%. Heterogeneity was associated with age, diagnosis method, sampling methods, and country. Thirty-two systematic reviews of interventions were identified. Four reviews were high quality, four were moderate, five were low and nineteen critically low, indicating bias. Following synthesis, no intervention was rated as 'evidence based.' Acceptability of interventions to autistic adults and priorities of autistic adults were often not considered. Conclusions: There is some understanding of the scope of mental ill-health in autism, but interventions are not tailored to the needs of autistic adults, not evidence based, and may focus on promoting neurotypical behaviours rather than the priorities of autistic people.
... Non-English-speaking status increases the risk of poor access to quality medical care and intervention services within healthcare and education systems, lower rates of insurance coverage, reduced utilization of preventive services, delayed autism diagnosis, and fewer intervention service hours [2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. The consequences of inadequate health care for autistic CLD individuals are disparate rates of preventable diagnoses (e.g., mental health, sleep difficulties, and digestive problems), as well as higher long-term health care costs, higher rates of hospitalization, lower quality of life, and shorter life-expectancy when compared to children with autism whose families are primarily English speaking [9][10][11][12]. ...
... The consequences of inadequate CLD for autistic individuals include higher rates of hospitalization, lower quality of life, and shorter life expectancy compared to their English-speaking counterparts [9][10][11][12]. Given the variety of co-occurring mental and physical health conditions associated with autism and considering the risks that CLD autistic individuals experience within healthcare and education systems, it is essential that we accommodate healthcare systems to protect this population from harm [2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. ...
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Autism is a developmental disability that exists across racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic boundaries. Unfortunately, the lived experiences of autistic individuals and their families as supported by evidence in the existing literature suggest that culturally and linguistically diverse families’ engagement in healthcare and education face a multitude of challenges, particularly during high-stakes meetings and health care appointments (e.g., Individualized Education Plan meetings, patient visits, diagnostic results interpretation meetings). These challenges prevent culturally and linguistically diverse autistic individuals from accessing adequate care. In this paper, we propose solutions to be adopted by healthcare and education systems to address those challenges. First, we urge providers to address the systemic problems that commonly occur during meetings. Second, we propose service providers adopt a cultural and linguistic ‘match’ process. We recommend asking families about their specific language preferences and ensuring selection of translators who speak the family’s preferred language and dialect. Employing these transformations will require education and healthcare systems to allocate more resources for translation services to enhance training and recruitment of interpreters and ensure that interpreter-family pairs are provided time for consultation prior to high-stakes meetings. Ultimately, these adaptations to the service provision environment would produce opportunities for translators to act as cultural liaisons and, with time, become trusted partners for families.
... To build on the abovementioned syntheses, in this systematic literature review, we updated and expanded on Roberts and Simpson (2016) and Williams et al., 2019 procedures and findings. First, given that they only included studies published up to 2015, there are likely new empirical studies on the topic (Frazier et al., 2018). Further, to capture the full scope of research, we included studies using both qualitative and quantitative methodology. ...
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Autistic adolescents are increasingly educated in inclusive settings. This likely affects their education and experiences in a variety of ways, yet their opinions on their inclusive educational experiences are rarely sought. Autistic adolescents should be given the opportunity to share their opinions on their inclusive experiences to help identify structural issues that limit their success, as well as the school supports they desire. This literature review synthesizes the opinions of autistic adolescents on their experiences in inclusive education. After identifying 23 eligible studies in a systematic search, five overarching themes were identified relating to (1) negotiating identity, (2) peer interactions, (3) teacher characteristics, (4) instructional practices, and (5) classroom and school environment. Limitations and implications for future research and practice are discussed, including the need to conduct studies on this topic in the USA and to solicit the perspectives of female autistic adolescents more actively.
... Questionnaires are useful for canvassing opinions from researchers, professionals and other stakeholders. In fact, they have an important application in the context of identifying research priorities (e.g., Frazier et al., 2018;Hubbard et al., 2022). To collect feedback on research priorities, the questionnaire should have specific and carefully designed questions that address key issues. ...
... El uso de cuestionarios es útil para recopilar opiniones de investigadores, profesionales y otros actores. De hecho, tiene una importante aplicación en el contexto de identificación de prioridades investigación (ej, Frazier et al., 2018;Hubbard et al., 2022). Para recopilar opiniones sobre prioridades de investigación, el cuestionario debe tener preguntas específicas y diseñadas cuidadosamente que aborden temas clave. ...
... In the general and mainstream autism literature, a mismatch has been identified between the kinds of research that is funded and the kinds of research that is valued by autistic groups (Pellicano et al., 2014). For example, substantial amounts of funding tends to support research in areas such as genetics, neural systems, and developmental and behavioral interventions (Den Houting & Pellicano, 2019;Frazier et al., 2018). However, research suggests that autistic people place greater value on research that focuses on adult transition, lifespan issues, and health and well-being (Harris et al., 2021). ...
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The primary aim of this systematic review is to investigate the inclusion of autistic individuals in the design process of immersive technologies. This study follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses standards for systematic literature reviews. To ensure the research questions and subsequent stages of the review incorporate pertinent parameters, the problem, interest, context framework has also been employed. Findings highlight that, while early proponents of immersive technology emphasized the importance of user involvement in design of new technology, immaturity of the technology often limited the implementation of direct user input to the design process. Nonetheless, analysis of the literature published between 2002-2022 identified 20 studies in which substantial influence of autistic individuals and stakeholders was found in the design process of immersive technologies. The roles of autistic individuals varied from active co-designers and co-creators to essential contributors in refining prototypes and providing critical feedback, ensuring the final products align with their needs and preferences. Results underscore the need to align research and design of immersive technologies more closely with the priorities and preferences of autistic individuals. Further is needed regarding actively involving autistic individuals in the design and implementation of immersive technology applications. On this basis, we maintain that more inclusive and effective deployment of immersive technologies is needed in order to ensure that resultant technologies are fit for purpose and address the actual needs of the autistic community.
... As these efforts continue, it remains incumbent on biomarker researchers to articulate how biomarkers will improve identification and clinical care, as biomarker testing is often more labor-intensive, more invasive, and less accessible to people in need than established methods. Further, biomarker researchers should address concerns from the autistic community about the underlying motivation for biological research funding [e.g., cure and prevent autism; (39)], which often comes at the expense of other funding and research needs prioritized by autistic people (40)(41)(42)(43)(44)(45)(46). ...
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It was recently argued that autism researchers committed to rejecting ableist frameworks in their research may sacrifice “scientifically accurate” conceptualizations of autism. In this perspective piece, we argue that: (a) anti-ableism vs. scientific accuracy is a false dichotomy, (b) there is no ideology-free science that has claim to scientific accuracy, and (c) autism science has a history of false leads in part because of unexamined ableist ideologies that undergird researcher framings and interpretations of evidence. To illustrate our claims, we discuss several avenues of autism research that were promoted as scientific advances, but were eventually debunked or shown to have much less explanatory value than initially proposed. These research programs have involved claims about autism etiology, the nature of autism and autistic characteristics, and autism intervention. Common to these false leads have been ableist assumptions about autism that inform researcher perspectives. Negative impacts of this work have been mitigated in some areas of autism research, but these perspectives continue to exert influence on the lives of autistic people, including the availability of services, discourses about autism, and sociocultural conceptualizations of autistic people. Examining these false leads may help current researchers better understand how ableism may negatively influence their areas of inquiry. We close with a positive argument that promoting anti-ableism can be done in tandem with increasing scientific accuracy.
... on autistic people's lives, in the here and now (Frazier et al., 2018;Pellicano et al., 2013;Roche et al., 2021). Further, even if research does focus on topics that matter to autistic people and their allies, it often attracts criticism for positioning autism as a within-person 'deficit' or 'disorder' that needs to be 'fixed', leading to the widespread pathologisation and stigmatisation of autistic people (Botha, 2021;Botha & Cage, 2022). ...
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Background: Open research broadly refers to a set of practices that aim to increase transparency, rigor, reproducibility and inclusivity of research. Participatory research refers to incorporating the views and sharing power with the autism community to decide what research gets done, how it is done and how it is implemented. There is growing interest in both open and participatory practices in autism research. To date, however, these practices have tended to be considered separately. Method: In this paper, we outline the value of both open and participatory approaches to the autism research field, highlighting key points of overlap. Results: We propose three core principles underpinning open and participatory autism research: (1) the need for adequate expertise and infrastructure to facilitate high quality research, (2) the need for a greater degree of accessibility at all stages of the research process, and (3) the need to foster trusting relationships between the autistic and research communities. Conclusion: There are various challenges and opportunities of adopting open and participatory principles in autism research. We hope our principles support researchers to embed these approaches more fully within their work.
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Engagement with stakeholders is an essential part of the research process. This is particularly the case for early autism research with infant cohorts and their families, where a range of ethical issues are pertinent. Here, we report on a large survey of parents who have a child on the autism spectrum (n = 1040) which specifically probed attitudes to early autism research. The large majority of parents showed positive attitudes overall, and these were associated with greater access to services, higher service quality ratings and higher rates of intellectual disability among their children. Parents valued the scientific goals of research, but half of parents also reported that an intervention component would be an essential prerequisite for them to participate in research. If enrolled in a study, parents were positive about most commonly used measures though less favourably disposed towards brain scans for children. They valued direct contact with the research team and openness in data sharing. We interpret our findings in terms of lessons for the early autism research community and for stakeholder engagement projects.
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The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provides a large suite of online resources for biological information and data, including the GenBank® nucleic acid sequence database and the PubMed database of citations and abstracts for published life science journals. The Entrez system provides search and retrieval operations for most of these data from 37 distinct databases. The E-utilities serve as the programming interface for the Entrez system. Augmenting many of the Web applications are custom implementations of the BLAST program optimized to search specialized data sets. New resources released in the past year include iCn3D, MutaBind, and the Antimicrobial Resistance Gene Reference Database; and resources that were updated in the past year include My Bibliography, SciENcv, the Pathogen Detection Project, Assembly, Genome, the Genome Data Viewer, BLAST and PubChem. All of these resources can be accessed through the NCBI home page at
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Investigation into the earliest signs of autism in infants has become a significant sub-field of autism research. This work invokes specific ethical concerns such as use of ‘at-risk’ language, communicating study findings to parents and the future perspective of enrolled infants when they reach adulthood. This study aimed to ground this research field in an understanding of the perspectives of members of the autism community. Following focus groups to identify topics, an online survey was distributed to autistic adults, parents of children with autism and practitioners in health and education settings across 11 European countries. Survey respondents (n = 2317) were positively disposed towards early autism research, and there was significant overlap in their priorities for the field and preferred language to describe infant research participants. However, there were also differences including overall less favourable endorsement of early autism research by autistic adults relative to other groups and a dislike of the phrase ‘at-risk’ to describe infant participants, in all groups except healthcare practitioners. The findings overall indicate that the autism community in Europe is supportive of early autism research. Researchers should endeavour to maintain this by continuing to take community perspectives into account.
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Identifying biomarkers for autism can improve outcomes for those affected by autism. Engaging the diverse stakeholders in the research process using community-based participatory research (CBPR) can accelerate biomarker discovery into clinical applications. However, there are limited examples of stakeholder involvement in autism research, possibly due to conceptual and practical concerns. We evaluate the applicability of CBPR principles to biomarker discovery in autism and critically review empirical studies adopting these principles. Using a scoping review methodology, we identified and evaluated seven studies using CBPR principles in biomarker discovery. Results and conclusions The limited number of studies in biomarker discovery adopting CBPR principles coupled with their methodological limitations suggests that such applications are feasible but challenging. These studies illustrate three CBPR themes: community assessment, setting global priorities, and collaboration in research design. We propose that further research using participatory principles would be useful in accelerating the pace of discovery and the development of clinically meaningful biomarkers. For this goal to be successful we advocate for increased attention to previously identified conceptual and methodological challenges to participatory approaches in health research, including improving scientific rigor and developing long-term partnerships among stakeholders.
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There has been a substantial increase in research activity on autism during the past decade. Research into effective ways of responding to the immediate needs of autistic people is, however, less advanced, as are efforts at translating basic science research into service provision. Involving community members in research is one potential way of reducing this gap. This study therefore investigated the views of community involvement in autism research both from the perspectives of autism researchers and of community members, including autistic adults, family members and practitioners. Results from a large-scale questionnaire study (n = 1,516) showed that researchers perceive themselves to be engaged with the autism community but that community members, most notably autistic people and their families, did not share this view. Focus groups/interviews with 72 participants further identified the potential benefits and remaining challenges to involvement in research, especially regarding the distinct perspectives of different stakeholders. Researchers were skeptical about the possibilities of dramatically increasing community engagement, while community members themselves spoke about the challenges to fully understanding and influencing the research process. We suggest that the lack of a shared approach to community engagement in UK autism research represents a key roadblock to translational endeavors.
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Participatory research aims to increase the relevance and broaden the implementation of health research by involving those affected by the outcomes of health studies. Few studies within the field of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders, have involved autistic individuals as partners. This study sought to identify and characterize published participatory research partnerships between researchers and individuals with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorders and examine the influence of participatory research partnerships on the research process and reported study outcomes. A search of databases and review of gray literature identified seven studies that described participatory research partnerships between academic researchers and individuals with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorders. A comparative analysis of the studies revealed two key themes: (1) variations in the participatory research design and (2) limitations during the reporting of the depth of the partner's involvement. Both themes potentially limit the application and generalizability of the findings. The results of the review are discussed in relation to the use of evaluative frameworks for such participatory research studies to determine the potential benefits of participatory research partnerships within the neurodevelopmental and autism spectrum disorder populations.
Should we continue to refer to autism as a ‘disease’ or ‘disorder’, or is the framework of ‘neurodiversity’ a more humane and accurate lens through which to view people with autism? Evidence at the genetic, neural, behavioural and cognitive levels reveals people with autism show both differences, and signs of disability, but not disorder. Disability requires societal support, acceptance of difference and diversity, and societal “reasonable adjustment”, whilst disorder is usually taken to require cure or treatment. These are very different frameworks. It will be important to see how the concept of neurodiversity is applied to the 300 diagnoses in DSM-5, and if it revolutionizes both the science and the practice of psychiatry.
Objective: To illustrate the process of community-partnered participatory research (CPPR) to develop and evaluate interventions for children with autism in urban school districts METHODS: We formed partnerships of school personnel, parents, and researchers to guide the project. We then conducted focus groups, key informant interviews, and town halls to explore how public schools currently serve students with autism. We used findings from these activities to adapt interventions for public schools. We then tested interventions in randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Results: Community input indicated a particular need for interventions to improve children's social interaction and instructional supports to promote their success throughout the day. Based on this input, we adapted two interventions: Remaking Recess for improving peer engagement during social times; and Schedules, Tools, and Activities for Transition (STAT) for facilitating successful transitions between activities throughout the daily routine. Results of the RCT of Remaking Recess are not yet available. The RCT of STAT involved 150 children and 56 teachers. Teachers reported high buy-in and increased their proficiency at implementing STAT; children with ASD reduced their disruptive behavior and made progress toward teacher-nominated goals. However, teachers' implementation remained inconsistent, and children did not reliably improve in academic engagement or independence. Conclusions: The findings suggest that, although CPPR has limitations, it can assist in selecting interventions to address community priorities and produce some favorable outcomes for children with autism in public schools. An important next step is to evaluate the sustainability of the interventions introduced in this project.
Progress in understanding the genetic etiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has fueled remarkable advances in our understanding of its potential neurobiological mechanisms. Yet, at the same time, these findings highlight extraordinary causal diversity and complexity at many levels ranging from molecules to circuits and emphasize the gaps in our current knowledge. Here we review current understanding of the genetic architecture of ASD and integrate genetic evidence, neuropathology and studies in model systems with how they inform mechanistic models of ASD pathophysiology. Despite the challenges, these advances provide a solid foundation for the development of rational, targeted molecular therapies.
The latent class structure of autism symptoms from the time of diagnosis to age 6 years was examined in a sample of 280 children with autism spectrum disorder. Factor mixture modeling was performed on 26 algorithm items from the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised at diagnosis (Time 1) and again at age 6 (Time 2). At Time 1, a "2-factor/3-class" model provided the best fit to the data. At Time 2, a "2-factor/2-class" model provided the best fit to the data. Longitudinal (repeated measures) analysis of variance showed that the "2-factor/3-class" model derived at the time of diagnosis allows for the identification of a subgroup of children (9 % of sample) who exhibit notable reduction in symptom severity.