Autism diagnoses are growing at the alarming rate of 10 to 17 percent per year, according to the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. It is estimated that the number of Americans diagnosed with autism, 1.5 million in 2004, could reach 4 million by 2010. The spike in diagnoses, advances in genetic testing and debate regarding how best to treat autism are all changing the landscape of diagnosing, educating and understanding children and adults with autism.
Research underway at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development is leading the nation in expanding the understanding of the potential causes, nature and prognosis of autism.
The media fellowship will bring together researchers, education experts, advocates, parents and individuals with autism to discuss with journalists the latest research, the rising incidence of autism, the debate over its causes and needed educational changes.
The fellowship is available to a limited number of print, broadcast and experienced freelance journalists. Vanderbilt will cover the costs of participants' lodging and some meals; the journalist's employer is responsible for travel expenses and salary during the fellowship.
The application deadline is Feb. 25, 2005. For more information and to download an application form, go to www.vanderbilt.edu/news/autism.