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Research and Breakthroughs

Scientific Research Changed the Lives of Children with Autism

Willowbrook State School, Staten Island, NY

50 years ago, children with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were routinely institutionalized because families were ill-equipped to care for them.

Today, thanks to research funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, pediatric health care professionals have an increasing number of tools and interventional therapies that help children with autism live at home, attend school, college and grow up to become productive members of society.

“In addition to better tools for diagnosis and interventions, scientific research has led to better awareness among parents, teachers and physicians,” says Larry Yin, MD, MSPH, the Medical Director of the Boone Fetter Clinic for autism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles that provides diagnostic services and follow-up care for children and adolescents who have concerns in the areas of neurodevelopment, behavior, attention, sensory processing, feeding difficulties and social-emotional development.

NIH-funded research has shown that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulty recognizing and interpreting how facial expressions convey different emotions – from joy to puzzlement, sadness to anger – making it difficult to successfully navigate social situations. Evidence-based findings like this lead to more effective interventions for children with autism.

The research leading to these advances was funded by taxpayers like you. The currently proposed federal budget cuts funding for medical research by nearly 20%. Please express your desire to continue having tax dollars invested in children’s health by contacting your representative and expressing your interest in fully funding the NIH. This important work, that benefits us all, should be continued.

Thank you for your support.