Office of Autism Research Coordination Logo

Please enjoy OARC’s quarterly newsletter, which includes recent IACC activity, news, events, and publications.

Autism Meetings & Events

  The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Logo empty space July IACC Strategic Plan Working Group Meeting
The purpose of the July IACC Strategic Plan Working Group Meeting is to discuss research, services, and policy priorities for the upcoming 2021-2022 IACC Strategic Plan. The virtual event will take place on Wednesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 14, 2022. It will be free and open to the public.
  Susan Daniels, Joshua Gordon, Scott Robertson, and Tara Schwetz empty space April IACC Full Committee Meeting
The April IACC Full Committee Meeting included discussions on Committee business, agency updates, and issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities. This meeting featured a welcome from Acting Principal Deputy Director Dr. Tara Schwetz and presentations on housing and communication needs. A recording of the meeting is now available.
Logo for exceptional minds which includes those words empty space Autism Awareness Month Special Event: Animating the Future for Exceptional Minds
In April, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) hosted their 9th Annual Autism Awareness Month Special Event: Animating the Future for Exceptional Minds. The event featured Exceptional Minds, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, California, that prepares young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in the digital arts and entertainment industry.
Half of an outline of a sun with the words exceptional minds summer workshop empty space Exceptional Minds Summer Workshop
Exceptional Minds is offering summer courses for adults on the autism spectrum to learn animation, visual effects, 3D gaming, and other digital arts. They offer in-person and online sessions. There are four sessions throughout the summer.
INSAR Logo empty space INSAR Institute for Autism Research 2022: Autistic People’s Research Priorities
This year’s International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) summer institute will focus on the research priorities of autistic people. Topics will include diagnosis in adulthood; burnouts, meltdowns, and shutdowns; mental health; and sleep differences. The institute runs from June 30 to July 21, 2022.
News & Blogs
Joshua Gordon empty space Research Along the Autism Spectrum: Diverse Research to Meet Diverse Needs
For Autism Awareness Month, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director and Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Chair Dr. Joshua Gordon wrote about how NIMH’s autism research portfolio covers a broad span of research to meet the needs of diverse individuals on the autism spectrum. He included studies on supporting in-school service providers, preparing transition-aged youth for post-secondary education, and intervention to help young adults with social engagement at work and school. Dr. Gordon explains that due to the wide variety of experiences of people on the spectrum, it is important for researchers to explore areas such as co-occurring mental health conditions and services.
the National Institute of Mental Health which includes their abbreivation nimh empty space Multistage Autism Screening in Early Intervention Settings May Reduce Disparities
Recent research suggests that using a multistage screening procedure could help reduce disparities in ASD screening and diagnosis. Researchers developed a three-part process that was implemented at three early intervention sites in Boston. Both clinicians and caregivers served as key-decision makers and received support and training from the research team. The sites showed an increased rate of diagnosis, and the increase among Spanish speaking families was more than double the increase observed in non-Spanish speaking families. Diagnosis rates did not vary among insurance status, poverty levels, or race. This study was part of the NIMH-funded ASD Pediatric, Early Detection, Engagement and Services Research (PEDS) Network.
Drexel University logo which includes their name and a lion empty space Autistic Adults Report High Rates of COVID-19 Vaccination
The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute recently published a study on the differences between autistic adults who reported COVID-19 vaccination acceptance and those who were hesitant. Those that were vaccinated were more likely to report increased loneliness during COVID-19, live in more populated areas, and live in areas where President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. They were also more likely to report wanting to protect others and trusting the safety of the vaccine, whereas those who were hesitant were concerned about vaccine safety. At the time of the survey, researchers also found that autistic adults were more likely to report receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, or intended to become vaccinated, than the general public.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services logo which includes the letters HHS empty space As Part of President Biden’s Mental Health Strategy, HHS Awards Nearly $105 Million to States and Territories to Strengthen Crisis Call Center Services in Advance of July Transition to 988
Through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will launch a new three-digit dialing code for mental health crises. The new three-digit code, 988, will replace the 10-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. SAMSHA received $105 million in grant funding to strengthen the capacity of 54 states and territories to respond to mental health crises. The 988 dialing-code will be available nationally for call, text, or chat beginning on July 16, 2022. Mental health and suicide are concerns within the autism community, and the new 988 number will provide a new avenue for assistance.
Publications & Reports
2020 Summary of Advances Cover empty space 2020 IACC Summary of Advances Highlights New and Impactful Autism Research
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) has released its 2020 Summary of Advances in Autism Research. This publication provides short, plain language summaries of the top 20 advances in autism biomedical and services research selected by members of the IACC. In addition, for the first time, the IACC has released an easy-read version that summarizes the full publication in a briefer, more accessible format.
Drexel University logo which includes their name and a lion empty space Report: Autistic Children at the Intersection of Race and Poverty Experience Compounding Health Risks
The latest National Autism Indicator's Report: The Intersection Of Autism, Health, Poverty And Racial Inequity from Drexel University shows that autism, poverty, and non-white race/ethnicity increase rates of health problems and challenges for autistic individuals in accessing care. Each of these factors is an important health risk factor individually and they have an even greater impact in combination. According to the report, over half of autistic children live in low-income houses and one in four live in poverty, a rate higher than children without autism. Racial/ethnic disparities in health remained even when grouping data by household income.
Community Participation Opportunities
U.S. Department of Education Logo empty space U.S. Department of Education Announces Intent to Strengthen and Protect Rights for Students with Disabilities by Amending Regulations Implementing Section 504
The U.S. Department of Education announced intentions to amend Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public and private activities that receive federal funding, including schools. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights is also soliciting public comments. Details about submitting a comment can be found here. The Department will also hold listening sessions in the coming months.
Administration for Community Living logo which includes letters ACL empty space Seeking Grant Reviewers with Disabilities
The Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) Administration on Disabilities is seeking paid peer reviewers for a variety of grant competitions, and in particular, reviewers with disabilities. The responsibilities of reviewers include independently reviewing and scoring grant applications in an online system by the deadline, as well as participating in conference calls with other reviewers to discuss their independent application reviews. Reviewers will receive a stipend for completing the tasks.
University of Kansas Logo which includes letters KU empty space The National Survey on Health and Disability (NSHD)
The University of Kansas (KU) Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies has launched their annual, online survey of people with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions. The survey asks about health, quality of life, access to health care services, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was first conducted in 2018. This effort is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).