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Request for Information (RFI) Solicited Public Input on IACC Draft Strategic Plan for ASD Research

On behalf of the IACC, the NIMH issued the Request for Information (RFI): Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Draft Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Research is Available for Comment, NOT-MH-08-021 on August 20, 2008.

The purpose of this time-sensitive RFI was to seek comments on the IACC Draft Strategic Plan for ASD Research (PDF file, 34 pages) from ASD stakeholders such as individuals with ASD and their families, autism advocates, scientists, health professionals, therapists, educators, officials of state and local programs for ASD, and the public at large.

The RFI was posted in the NIH Guide on August 20, 2008 and announced in a Federal Register Notice on September 3, 2008; responses were being accepted through September 30, 2008. The electronic link to the RFI was sent to a wide range of advocacy, research, and professional organizations, IACC members, attendees of past IACC meetings, the IACC strategic planning workgroup, the NIH autism listserv, and an email distribution list from the NIMH Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison.

A total of 148 responses were received. Individual respondents included people self-identified with ASD; parents or relatives of a person with ASD; professionals involved in the diagnosis, care, and/or education of people with ASD; and researchers in ASD and other fields. Examples of organizations that responded included state autism societies; state and local ASD service providers; ASD-specific foundations; advocacy organizations; and professional organizations. Respondents shared many personal stories and expressed a great diversity of opinions. The responses were redacted for personally identifying information.

The draft strategic plan does not include cost estimates for implementation. However, the IACC formed a workgroup to advise the IACC about the budgetary requirements needed to fulfill the research objectives described in the draft strategic plan. At its next meeting on November 21, 2008, the IACC will consider the recommendations of the workgroup and the comments received in response to the RFI.

For background material, please refer to the Consolidated Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Gaps in ASD Research. The Consolidated Analysis is a compilation of information gathered throughout the strategic planning process including: (1) the evaluation of the autism research matrix in 2006; (2) the responses to the RFI on public input on ASD research priorities in December 2007 - January 2008; (3) the four scientific workshops conducted in January 2008; and, (4) the town hall meeting held in May 2008. The Consolidated Analysis does not necessarily reflect the views of the IACC.

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