• 1. Select a Service Coordination Organization +

    Service Coordination helps people develop and obtain high quality supports and services that are the least intrusive to meet their
  • 2. Seek Effective Treatment (ABA) +

    Questions to ask a potential provider
  • 3. Discuss Your Childs's Diagnosis with the School +

    To ensure your child has a meaningful educational experience. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) creates an opportunity for teachers, parents,
  • 4. Identify Any Other Outside Services +

    Lowcountry Autism Services Directory.
  • 5. Determine if Your Child Needs Additional Community Support +

    Lowcountry grants and camps.
  • 1

ABA News and Headlines

All News and Press Releases

  • DNAstack and Autism Speaks® Announce Collaboration
    Collaboration to Accelerate Scientific Discovery on One of the World’s Largest Autism Genome Databases

    Collaboration to Accelerate Scientific Discovery on One of the World’s Largest Autism Genome Databases

    June 25, 2018

    TORONTO and NEW YORK (June 25, 2018) ⎯ DNAstack, a software company that develops a cloud-based platform to manage, analyze and search genomic datasets, and Autism Speaks announced today a collaboration to enhance the Autism Speaks MSSNG research portal, designed to facilitate research to understand the complexities of autism spectrum disorder. Through this collaboration, DNAstack will organize one of the largest collections of autism genomes in the world, making them more accessible and analyzable, accelerating the pace at which researchers can use the resource to make discoveries.

    The Autism Speaks MSSNG project will help researchers answer the many remaining questions about the genetic underpinnings of autism by sequencing the DNA of more than 10,000 families affected by autism. The omitted letters in MSSNG (pronounced "missing") represent the missing information about autism that the research program seeks to deliver. Through the MSSNG Database for Autism Researchers, the project provides open access to de-identified whole genome sequences as well as tools for analysis, with the aim of advancing personalized treatments by deepening understanding of the many subtypes that make up the autism spectrum.

    “Sharing data in the MSSNG database and making it easy for researchers to analyze is crucial to our goal of understanding autism and accelerating discoveries,” said Dr. Dean Hartley, Autism Speaks senior director of discovery and translational science. “We are excited about how our relationship with DNAstack will help us move the needle on open science. Their technology will bring this resource to a new level by empowering researchers to more efficiently investigate genomic data.” Dr. Hartley adds that this collaboration will also increase accessibility by building on global standards developed through the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).

    Despite decades of research, there is much more to be done to understand the genetic variations that lead to differences on the spectrum, and to develop more personalized and effective treatments and support services. Working with Autism Speaks, DNAstack will build new features that will make it easier than ever before for autism researchers to use the data within the MSSNG resource, including:

    A data discovery portal that allows researchers to find datasets of interest based on genomics and clinical features, and create custom collection;

    A bioinformatics workflow integration allowing researchers to run custom and best-in-class analyses in order to, for example, find new variants or do case/control studies;

    Adata-sharing beacon enabling researchers worldwide to identify autism-specific information     

    about genomic variants of interest.

    “The genetics of autism is complex, but we’ve made great progress because the research community can access genomic information,” said Dr. Stephen Scherer, research director of MSSNG, and director of the Centre for Applied Genomics at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the McLaughlin Centre at the University of Toronto. “MSSNG is a powerful resource to identify new subtypes of autism and study their underlying genetics and biology. Enhancing research capabilities and improving collaboration will further advance scientific discovery in autism.”

    To date, research using the MSSNG genomic database has identified 61 genetic variations, and additional chromosome alterations that affect autism risk, which could lead to earlier diagnosis and potential personalized treatments for the condition and its associated physical and mental health conditions. Over 140 investigators from 40 institutions in eight countries worldwide are using data in the MSSNG database, which contains more than 7,200 whole genome sequences from individuals with autism, as well as unaffected family members, to draw comparisons.

    “We believe that sharing data is one of the most important things we can do to accelerate discovery and the realization of precision medicine, not just in autism but in other conditions as well,” said Dr. Marc Fiume, CEO of DNAstack and co-chair of the Discovery Work Stream for the GA4GH. “By sharing data on the cloud, MSSNG has set an important precedent in open science. DNAstack is excited to help further Autism Speaks' mission in making this resource even more accessible to the research community and impactful than ever before.”

    About DNAstack

    DNAstack develops a cloud-based platform for genomics data analysis and sharing. DNAstack provides push-button access to state-of-the-art technologies to help researchers, clinical laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies more quickly and cost-effectively make sense of the world’s exponentially accumulating genomics data and break down barriers to data sharing.

    AboutAutism

    Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. A combination of genetic and environmental factors influence the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children.

    About Autism Speaks

    Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. To find resources, join a fundraising walk or make a donation, go to www.AutismSpeaks.org.

    For more information please contact: christine@dnastack.com or aurelia.grayson@autismspeaks.org

    ###

  • Ready, Willing and Able to Work: How Small Businesses Empower People with Autism
    On Capitol Hill, Autism Speaks CEO highlights progress and calls for improvements in transition to adulthood
    May 09, 2018

    WASHINGTON (May 9, 2018) –Testifying today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Autism Speaks President and CEO Angela Geiger addressed an area of great importance to many in the autism community: finding and retaining employment. At a hearing chaired by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Ms. Geiger highlighted ways in which the nation’s small businesses are uniquely positioned to overcome barriers to employment for people with developmental disabilities, and recommended systemic improvements to ease the transition to adulthood.

    The employment rate of adults with disabilities is much lower than that of people without disabilities, and the rate for people with autism is lower still. However, progress is being made. In March 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the employment participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased to 34.8 percent from 32.3 percent the previous year.

    For many people with autism spectrum disorder, difficulty with communication and social interaction often hinder job interviews, collaboration with coworkers or even commuting to a job. Autism Speaks, which works on issues across the life span, provides tools and resources to help adults with autism overcome barriers to employment and live as independently as possible.

    “Employment is more than the key to independence; our jobs are, in large part, the way we as Americans define ourselves,” Ms. Geiger said. “People with autism share the same right to shape their identities and deserve the same opportunity to maximize their potential and to contribute as full and productive members of society. Small businesses have a tremendous opportunity to help them do so, improving their bottom line and benefiting their communities at the same time.”

    Autism Speaks and its partners work with businesses to improve hiring, training and retention. The innovation and flexibility of small businesses and entrepreneurs enable them to lead the way in employing people with autism, who are ready, willing and able to work. Businesses that hire people with autism report higher productivity and better retention rates, which flow to the bottom line.

    Ms. Geiger highlighted three encouraging employment trends: mission-driven businesses run by social entrepreneurs whose mission is to hire people with developmental disabilities; autism employment initiatives by large companies that want to diversity their workforce; and micro-enterprises and small businesses run by entrepreneurs with autism. Entrepreneurship offers flexibility and job customization.

    Illustrating these trends, the hearing included testimony from small-business owner John Cronin, of John’s Crazy Socks; Lori Ireland, of Extraordinary Ventures, a mission-driven business that employs adults with autism in service contracts; and Dave Friedman, the CEO of AutonomyWorks  whose 22-year-old son is on the autism spectrum.

    “We leverage the talents of people with autism – attention to detail, focus through repetitive tasks, and dedication to quality – to provide our clients with essential services,” said Mr. Friedman, whose Chicago-area company serves 15 commercial clients.

    To help small businesses recruit, retain and advance employees with autism, Autism Speaks and its partners create communities of experts who share best practices to unlock the potential of an untapped workforce. Through these collaborations, Autism Speaks has developed employment guides, networks and online tools for job candidates, employers, employees, parents and schools.

    Each year, an estimated 50,000 adolescents with autism transition from school into adult life, and more than half are disconnected from work or further education and training. To help close that gap, Autism Speaks recommended three systemic changes:

    Improve transition services in schools and consistently start earlier, as young as age 14.This includes vocational rehabilitation, special education and career services, as well as collaboration with community employers to help match student with jobs in the local market.

    Improve coordination between services.Building upon recommendations from the 2017 Report to Congress on Young Adults and Transition-age Youth with Autism, increase alignment among federal, state and community agencies.

    Ensure that state-level implementation of workforce programs results in meaningful outcomes for people with autism. These programs include the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and state Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) programs. Both can help people with autism find paid work.

    Ms. Geiger said, “Autism Speaks remains dedicated to serving as a conduit between individuals with autism and the small-business community.”

    About Autism

    Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. Most forms are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, and many are accompanied by medical issues such as GI disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the U.S.

    About Autism Speaks

    Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Go to AutismSpeaks.org to learn more, donate or join a fundraising walk.

  • GameStop and Autism Speaks launch NXT Gen Coders program
    GameStop raising funds to increase employment opportunities within autism community through its third annual in-store autism awareness campaign

    GameStop raising funds to increase employment opportunities within autism community through its third annual in-store autism awareness campaign

    April 30, 2018

    It is estimated that by 2020, there will be more than one million open jobs in the computer coding industry. Computer programming and coding are logical, predictable and visual – three attributes that make them appealing to many individuals with autism. And yet, the vast majority of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed.

    The new NXT Gen Coders Program powered by GameStop, and administered by Autism Speaks, is committed to increasing employment opportunities for the autism community in the fields of computer coding and programming.

    During GameStop’s 2018 campaign, a portion of funds raised will help fund the NXT Gen Coders Program, and enable Autism Speaks to provide grants to organizations offering coding education and training services. Autism Speaks will invite organizations across the country to submit proposals via an engaging and in-depth process that results in awarding a select group of program recipients. Autism Speaks will work closely with recipient organizations to identify program participants who demonstrate clear financial need.

    From May 1- 31, 2018, all GameStop stores in the U.S. will be having a GameStop Gives Back Event, offering three ways guests can contribute to support of people with autism:

    • For the first-time guests will have the option to donate up to 100% of their trade-in value to Autism Speaks when they bring to GameStop their unused video game hardware, software, accessories, or consumer electronics.
       
    • Donate $1, $5, $10 or more in store or on GameStop.com and GameStop will provide triple PowerUp Rewards™ points on the donation amount.
       
    • Online only: PowerUp Rewards members can now donate PowerUp Rewards points to Autism Speaks in the PowerUp Rewards Center.

    This May, please join us in letting our friends at GameStop know how much we appreciate all of their efforts in their stores to drive support, understanding and acceptance of people with autism. For program details and restrictions please visit www.gamestop.com