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Autism Speaks makes major funding commitment for unprecedented national autism database

Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the growing autism health crisis and raising funds for critical autism research, today announced that its board of directors has voted to fund a program for the development of a national autism database. Kennedy Krieger Institute, one of the nation's leading treatment centers for autism and other developmental disorders, will develop the open, interactive database. Autism Speaks is making an initial three-year commitment to the project, beginning with an award of $2,266,000 for the first year. This is the first award of over a million dollars given out by Autism Speaks, which was founded in February 2005.

"The funding of this program is an important first step in Autism Speaks' efforts to advance innovative autism research," said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. "The database project has the potential to create a powerful tool for thousands of families, educators and researchers across the country and around the world."

The national online autism database will serve as a shared resource to centralize registration of families and individuals with autism spectrum disorders and connect them with researchers, parents and other individuals with autism throughout the country and the world. In addition to supporting scientific investigation, it will provide individuals and families affected by autism with unprecedented information about the experiences of others and serve as an open resource for educators and policy makers. A longitudinal database will enable families and individuals to participate in an online study aimed at understanding the patterns of treatment use and responses to those treatments. Online community features including internal message boards, researcher chat sessions, member profiles, a calendar, and links to outside autism resources are also planned. The fostering of communication between families and the research community will not only
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Contact: Elise Babbitt
babbitte@kennedykrieger.org
443-923-7330
Kennedy Krieger Institute
17-Jan-2006


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