[Last updated on October 20, 2021]
Johns Hopkins University psychiatrist Leo Kanner first described autism
Facilitated communication (FC) was developed in the 1970s in Australia by an aide who was trying to help a patient with cerebral palsy to communicate. It is based on the idea that the person is unable to communicate because of a movement disorder, not because of a lack of communication skills. FC is very controversial,
Dolphin therapy was first tried in the 1970s by David Nathanson, a psychologist who believed that interactions with dolphins would increase a child’s attention, enhancing cognitive processes.
Study on Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is published.
It was suggested that with a comprehensive ABA program of 40 hours a week, about half of Autistic kids were indistinguishable from non-Autistic kids at age 7. — But even within the field, the research has been questioned.
Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.
It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
The Marcus Institute launched by Bernie and Billi Marcus in Atlanta, Georgia
In 1991, Bernie Marcus and his wife Billi established The Marcus Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. Marcus later contributed $25 million to the launch of Autism Speaks.
Social Stories were developed in 1991 by Carol Gray as a tool for teaching social skills to children with autism.
They address “Theory of Mind” deficits/
NAAR Projects/Initiatives: Autism Tissue Program, High Risk Baby Sibling Autism Research Project, NAAR Genome Project, NAARRATIVE
The NAAR is the first non-profit organization in the country dedicated to funding and accelerating biomedical research for autism spectrum disorders.
The organization was established by parents of children with autism concerned about the limited amount of funding for autism research.
NAAR will merge with Autism Speaks in 2006
CAN will merge with Autism Speaks in 2007
Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) Genetic Work Group
Cure Autism Now sponsored its first meeting, which resulted in the establishment of AGRE. This has become an invaluable resource to the autism field
October 24, 1997
Cure Autism Now Consensus Conference
The Cure Autism Now Consensus Conference in 1997 (Los Angeles, CA) was held for the urgent purpose of bringing together the top experts in the autism clinical research community to establish, for the first time, a consensus statement of the autism “phenotype” and guidelines for a medical work up in autism.
The meeting resulted in publication of the Autism Screening and Diagnostic Evaluation.
National Alliance For Autism Research (NAAR) committed about $500,000 in its second year of funding autism research projects, and marked establishment of their Mentor-based fellowship program.
NAAR was instrumental in funding and establishing the Autism Tissue Program in 1998, a brain tissue donation program dedicated to autism research. NAAR also attracted its first Research Partners and Research Patrons in 1998.
NAAR funded 10 pilot studies and 2 mentor-based fellowships in the United States and Canada in 1998.
Autism Coalition for Research and Education (ACRE) launched by parents.
1998 a group of parents recognized the power of coordinated fundraising, awareness, and advocacy initiatives and formed the Autism Coalition for Research and Education.
National Alliance For Autism Research (NAAR) invested $800,000 in 1999 to fund 14 pilot studies and two mentor-based fellowships in the United States, Russia and Italy.
Kevin Murray, along with three other governing board members who are all parents of children with autism, founded the Coalition in 1999.
The Autism Coalition was formed to give a national voice and bring together the major autism research and education organizations, as well as many of the regional autism groups.
Although there were a number of competing and overlapping parent organizations advocating for autism, there was no single body that sought to address the common concerns for the autistic community. The Autism Coalition has played a critical role in bringing autism organizational leaders together to identify common ground, raise funds and public awareness.
National Alliance For Autism Research (NAAR) became the first non-governmental organization to break the $1 million mark for funding autism research and committed approximately $1.5 million to fund 19 pilot studies and two mentor-based fellowships in autism research taking place in the United States and Spain.
Also in 2000, NAAR and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation began sponsoring the Autism Genetics Cooperative, an annual retreat for an international consortium of the world’s leading genetic researchers focusing on autism to share information and combine data to accelerate the search for autism susceptibility genes.
Autism: Gut Brain Workshop
Cure Autism Now held the Gut Brain Workshop (Hancock, MA) with the goal of bringing together experts in autism, pharmacology, and gastroenterology to address how understanding the complex system of the GI tract could explain and account for autistic symptoms.
December 4, 2000
Workshop on Mouse Models in Autism
NIMH and Cure Autism Now sponsored a Workshop on Mouse Models in Autism (Bar Harbor, Maine) to bring together experts in the clinical features of autism, mouse genetics, and mouse phenotyping.
National Alliance For Autism Research (NAAR) broke new ground in terms of the amount of money committed to autism research and the number of projects funding. It also marked the first time the organization funded projects in Israel and Ireland.
NAAR committed approximately $3.1 million to fund 28 pilot studies, fellowships and programs, including its largest investment to date in a single project: The Baby Sibs Study – a collaborative, multi-site research program taking place in Canada and the U.S.
NAAR played a key role in funding and establishing the first annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), the first international, interdisciplinary conference focusing on autism research.
The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), created in 2001, is a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about ASDs, including autism, Asperger’s syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS).
The Society’s main role has been to run the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), which is an annual scientific meeting to exchange and disseminate new scientific progress among ASD scientists and their trainees.
U.S. Representatives Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Michael Doyle (D-PA) founded the bi-partisan Autism Caucus.
The Caucus, formally known as the Coalition for Autism Research and Education (CARE), currently includes over 170 members from over 40 states.
National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) budgeted an unprecedented $1 million to fund pre- and post-doctoral mentor-based fellowships to attract the best and brightest young minds to focus their talents on autism research.
(NAAR) continued to drive the autism research movement and elevate the science more than any other autism organization, committing approximately $4 million to fund 22 pilot studies in autism research taking place in the U.S., England, Italy and Germany; three larger, collaborative programs in the U.S., Canada and England and 12 mentor-based fellowships in the U.S. and England.
Also in 2002, NAAR played a key role in funding and presenting the first Canadian Autism Research Workshop, designed to enhance and increase autism research efforts in Canada.
Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) project is unique among the large ASD epidemiological studies. It focuses solely on autistic disorder, and it emphasizes a search for environmental factors—including a broad array of chemicals in food, consumer products, and ambient air, as well as infectious and medical exposures—that might be linked to the disorder. The study is funded by the NIH.
March & October 2002
Cure Autism Now held two meetings of a Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) Genetic Work Group (October 2002, Baltimore, MD, and March 2002, San Diego, CA), which was formed to analyze how to move AGRE forward further and faster.
Targeted Research in Autism Workshop
Cure Autism Now held a Targeted Research in Autism Workshop (Santa Monica, CA) which attempted to pinpoint neurochemical targets and research directions in developmental neurobiology.
The meeting report from this workshop is an extensive review published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry which was one of the first to discuss autism in terms of a disorder of neural information processing and functional connectivity. Pinpointing Autism: Autism as a Disorder of Neural Information Processing: Directions for Research and Targets for Therapy (Unabridged)
Autism Clinical Trials Task Force
The Autism Clinical Trials Task Force was a consensus meeting convened by Cure Autism Now in 2002 (Santa Monica, CA) in order to have clinicians derive a consistent strategy for clinical studies in autism.
The meeting brought together a panel of participants from academia, government, and industry. Five subcommittees were formed to focus on issues of clinical trials in autism, and the resulting reports were published as an entire issue of CNS Spectrums.
Brain Atlas Program
Autism Speaks’ Autism Tissue Program (ATP) began the Brain Atlas Program in 2002 with the objective of deciphering the neuropathological features of autism in multiple brain areas in order to provide us with important missing information about how autism impacts brain structure.
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) founded by Jim & Marilyn Simons who are “affected by autism.”
Board members/Staff: Deedra Blair, Michelle Smigel, Suzanne Aisenberg, Michael Auerbachj, Sharon Cunningham, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, Karen Siff Exkorn, Esther Fein, Rick Goldsmith, Doug Herzog, Tommy Hilfiger, Yie-Hsin Hung, Steven J. Kantor, Arlene Maidman, David Remnick, Bellanca Smigel Rutter, Robert Smigel, Jon Stewart, Tracey Stewart, Patricia Cayne, Ilene Lainer, Ophelia Rudin, William Rudin
National Alliance For Autism Research (NAAR) budgeted an unprecedented $1 million to fund pre- and post-doctoral mentor-based fellowships to attract the best and brightest young minds to focus their talents on autism research.
Also, NAAR committed approximately $4.9 million to fund 35 pilot studies, 13 pre- and post-doctoral fellowships and two autism training programs.
NAAR’s 2003 research commitments funded autism investigations in the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland and Denmark.
As part of the 2003 awards, NAAR is co-sponsoring two autism training programs in partnership with the Canadian Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction.
November 19, 2003
This conference addressed the growing public health concerns regarding rising rates of autism, including early screening and diagnosis, optimal services, and advancing biomedical research.
The Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE)
National Alliance For Autism Research (NAAR) committed $6.2 million to fund 25 pilot studies, 14 pre- and post-doctoral fellowships as well as two large collaborative programs: the NAAR Autism Genome Project and expansion of the Autism Tissue Program.
NAAR’s 2004 research commitments include the ongoing support of two interdisciplinary autism training programs that are being co-sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
NAAR’s 2004 research awards are the largest single-year commitment to biomedical autism research ever made by a non-governmental organization and are funding pilot studies and fellowships in the U.S., Canada and England.
NAAR has committed $2 million towards the NAAR Autism Genome Project, an NIH partnership that is the largest research collaboration ever to focus on the genetics of the disorder.
The NAAR Autism Genome Project will map the human genome in the search for autism susceptibility genes – the genes responsible for the inherited risk for autism. A public/private research partnership, this collaboration includes approximately 170 of the world’s leading genetic researchers from 50 academic and research institutions that have pooled their DNA samples in a collaborative effort.
Cure Autism Now: Innovative Technology in Autism Think Tank
The Innovative Technology in Autism Think Tank in June 2004 (San Francisco, CA) brought together a workgroup to discuss the development of products that will provide real world solutions to issues faced by those with autism, their families, educators, healthcare specialists, and researchers.
The incredible success of the meeting continues to guide our Innovative Technology in Autism (ITA) Initiative
February 11, 2005
Curtis Arledge, Tom Bernard, Scott R. Carpenter, Jennifer Caserta, Joseph T. Coyle, Barry R. Feirstein, Adam Frazier, Darren Goode, Brian L. Harper, Matthew Higgins, Adrian M. Jones, Tim Jones, Aidan Kehoe, Kevin J. Murray, Jacquelyn “Jakki” Nance, Herbert Pardes, Jamie T. Richardson, Chuck Saftler, Stuart Savitz, Stephen Shore, Steven P. Stanbrook, Cheryl Vitali, Lisa Yang, Mel Karmazin
August 1, 2005
Autism Coalition for Research and Education (ACRE)merges with Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks: Expected Number of Research Proposals
Dana Foundation to Assist in Administering Grant Requests
Autism Speaks has received a higher-than-expected 58 applications for a new grant program it initiated to target established scientists at leading medical and research institutions.
The Dana Foundation is assisting in the administration of this first round of grants.
NAAR committed $8.3 million to fund 41 pilot studies, 14 pre- and 7 post-doctoral fellowships as well as three large collaborative programs: the NAAR Autism Genome Project, the High Risk Baby Siblings Research Project and the Autism Tissue Program.
Board/Staff: Julia Bascom, Kayley Whalen, Meg Evans, Ben McGann, Hari Srinivasan, Zoe Gross, Sam Crane, Kelly Israel, Greg Robinson, Haley Outlaw, Ianthe Belisle Dempsey, Noor Pervez, Meredith Bartley, Reid Caplan, Jean Winegardner, Katherine Crater
Autism Speaks press release announces Alison Tepper Singer will write an ‘article of understanding’ about their idea of the word ‘cure’ and how that’s different than what Autistics think.
Autism Speaks battles Autistic activists fiercely. Autism Speaks was actively silencing Autistics or diminishing our voice. Today the Autism Wars are still being fought. Autistic activists have been in a civil rights movement already for over three decades now.
Autism Speaks funded 63 new biomedical research projects at a total value of over $6.9 million in June 2006.
Autism Speaks funded 61 new biomedical research projects at a total value of approximately $10 million in December 2006.
How did the Autism Treatment Network get started?
The ATN began as a joint venture between the Northwest Autism Foundation in Oregon and Mass General Hospital for Children in Boston.
The ATN was foreseen as filling this need, and the initial steps in its formation included the recruitment of a group of distinguished physicians and researchers who would define its mission and goals. Cure Autism Now recognized that this innovative network could play a valuable role in its mission to identify the means of preventing, treating and ultimately curing autism.
To this end, Cure Autism Now joined forces with the Autism Treatment Network incorporating it as one of its key research programs.
Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks recently announced plans to combine operations, bringing together the two leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
January 25 & 26 2007
Inaugural Autism and Immunology Workshop took place in Pasadena, Calif. on the campus of the California Institute of Technology. Workshop sponsored by Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks.
April 2, 2007
International Autism Network (IAN) launched community and research sites.
One of the main goals was to influence the direction of autism research.
IAN had three branches: IAN Rearch, IAN Community and the IAN Exchange.
The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.”
The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA.
November 17, 2009
June 2, 2010
February 28, 2011
Autistic Women & Non-Binary Network (AWN) founded by Sharon daVanpo
Board/Staff/Contributors: Lydia X. Z. Brown, Emily Paige Ballou, Corina Becker, Jessica Horvath Williams, Lei Wiley-Mydske, Kayley Whalen, Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Lori Berkowitz, Erin Casey, Jean Winegardner, Court (Alison) Falk, Mara Fritts, Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, Kayla Rodriguez, Elesia Ashkenazy, Amy Sequenzia, Reese Piper, Hannah Morrison, C.L. Bridge, Nadine Silber, Kit Mead
October 5, 2012
The Âûtistic Union is founded and Autistic-led.
May 27, 2013
Autism Speaks Changes Stance on Vaccines and Autism Link.
Autism Speaks drops the word “Cure” from it’s mission statement.
March 2, 2017
October 23, 2017
Spectrum 10K project is announced in the UK. #StopSpectrum10K & #BoycottSpectrum10K Campaign Ignited worldwide.