Autism Speaks, along with its predecessor organizations, has been a critical source of funding directed towards the causes and treatment of autism spectrum disorders; it also conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. Their goal is to accelerate and fund biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increase awareness of the disorder; and to improve the quality of life of affected individuals and their families.
Today, in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers services in five other areas: community services that help the needy; communications services and comfort for military members and their family members; the collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products; educational programs on preparedness, health, and safety; and international relief and development programs.
Autism Speaks supports research in four main areas:
Etiology includes genetic and environmental factors that may cause autism. This research includes searches for autism susceptibility genes, animal models for autism, environmental toxins, and maternal viral infections.
Biology studies cells, the brain, and the body. This focuses on brain development and includes the Autism Tissue Program discussed further below.
Diagnosis includes epidemiology, early diagnosis, and biomarkers.
Autism therapies include medication, behavioral, and psychological interventions. It includes treatments for co-occurring medical conditions in children which are unrelated to autism, such as sleep disorders and gastrointestinal conditions that may hinder behavioral interventions, along with treatments for older individuals, and complementary and alternative medicine.
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