Teaching Tips‎ > ‎

Opportunity to participate in research project on autism and genes

posted Jan 28, 2017, 10:10 AM by Judi Munday
This week, I found an April 21, 2016 Washington Post article that reported the Simons Foundation Research Initiative announced a launch of an online project that seeks to gather DNA and information about autism from about 50,000 people.  Already, scientists have identified between 50-70 genes that are involved in the condition -- although the expectation is that there are more.  The long-term study will work with well respected institutions, such as University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and Weill Cornell Medicine. 

As an educator and consultant, I have long been interested in the research conducted on various learning challenges and on autism. Of course, there are no "blood tests" or even "standardized tests" that can be used to diagnose the condition.  Recent changes in the DSM-V handbook have significantly altered the criteria by which a child may be found to be on the spectrum. In my consulting practice, I have observed many cases where a child who is on the autism spectrum has a strong family history of blood relatives who are either more severely affected or perhaps only "shadow" the characteristics of autism. 

The article notes that answers may be a long way off, but in my opinion, the study of the genetics of autism can provide one helpful insight into this life-long and challenging condition that affects both the child and his entire family throughout his or her entire lifespan!  If you are interested in participating in this study, look up the website