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Autism Speaks announces multinational initiative

NEW YORK, NY May 9, 2008 Autism Speaks, the worlds largest autism advocacy organization announces today the formation of an international collaboration with North, South and Central America. This multinational initiative will help to raise awareness and develop research expertise focusing on public health and screening for early diagnosis and enhanced service delivery across the Americas.

We believe it is important to form partnerships with countries that have different cultures, levels of expertise, and existing services, said Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer, Geri Dawson, Ph.D. The Pan American autism research and services training initiative is an important step toward providing better services for all children affected by autism and their families

According to Carso Health Institute, this initiatives first purpose will provide the much-needed awareness to health professionals and families as well as support for early detection and training programs. This will ultimately enhance the quality of research and services in Latin America and the Caribbean. The newly trained service providers will then be able to deliver immediate benefits to the communities they serve with a special focus on children affected by autism and their families.

Evidence of effectiveness is critical in development of treatments for autism. For instance, behavioral intervention using applied behavior analysis (ABA) has been shown to benefit a significant number of affected individuals, said Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Director, Dr. Duane Alexander. Having well trained investigators is crucial for appropriate research on treatment of this disorder. We are pleased to collaborate to ensure the best research and research training on autism.

Health research on autism in Canada has become a priority in the last decade as it has in other countries. We have recognized that todays researchers and the next generation need the necessary tools at their disposal to better diagnose and treat this complex brain disorder, said Dr. Rmi Quirion, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. An international public-private partnership will leverage expertise and resources to better coordinate research on autism with a common goal of improving diagnosis and treatment across the Americas.

Autism must be diagnosed by trained professionals using standardized behavioral instruments. Through this multinational partnership, representatives will explore the best possible models and mechanisms for maximizing both the social and scientific impact on this initiative and provide specific training to professional service providers for continuity of care. Representatives from this initiative will host the first workshop in June 2008 with a focus on awareness.


Contact: Lori Ferme
Autism Speaks

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