NIH Funnels $100 Million Into ASD Research The National Institutes of Health has awarded nine research grants—including one to ASHA member Amy Wetherby—totaling nearly $100 million over the next five years to understand and develop interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The grants were issued to members of the federal Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE), a program ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   December 01, 2017
NIH Funnels $100 Million Into ASD Research
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   December 01, 2017
NIH Funnels $100 Million Into ASD Research
The ASHA Leader, December 2017, Vol. 22, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.22122017.14
The ASHA Leader, December 2017, Vol. 22, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.22122017.14
The National Institutes of Health has awarded nine research grants—including one to ASHA member Amy Wetherby—totaling nearly $100 million over the next five years to understand and develop interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The grants were issued to members of the federal Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE), a program that funds large research projects. ACE, created in 2007 by consolidating previous programs, awards grants every five years. The 2017 grants are the third cycle of ACE grants.
Wetherby, director of the Florida State University Autism Institute, will work with network colleagues to test a two-part intervention designed to empower parents of toddlers with ASD. One aspect helps connect them with services and adapt to their child’s care. Another teaches them to foster their children’s communication andsocial skills.
Other network grants are researching:
  • How ASD and response to ASD interventions differ between boys and girls, and how that formation will help people with ASD manage the transition to adulthood.

  • How the brains of children ages 7 to 10 with ASD change as they grow, potential effects of ASD on learning and social development, and implications for ASD interventions.

  • Whether screening for ASD lowers the average age of diagnosis, leads to earlier intervention, and improves outcomes.

Center grants are examining:
  • The classification of ASD by symptoms, behavioral characteristics and genetic features, and whether that information helps develop behavioral and drug interventions for each group (University of California, Davis).

  • Whether ASD symptoms—such as sensorimotor processing, social motivation and social communication—can be traced to their origins, and whether a medication can improve social functioning (University of California, Los Angeles).

  • Brain connections in fetuses and newborns to identify early indicators of ASD and if the brain circuitry differs in boys and girls with ASD (Yale University).

  • How attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may influence ASD diagnosis and treatment and whether stimulants used to treat ADHD will help children with both conditions (Duke University).

  • Whether social interactions in infants—measured through visual, vocal and brain development—can help diagnose autism early and lead to the earliest possible interventions (Emory University).

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December 2017
Volume 22, Issue 12