Autism Speaks-Organized Events
Autism Speaks-Sponsored Events
International Research Conferences
In order to drive us to a cure faster, Autism Speaks (AS) proactively organizes autism summit meetings and workshops, each focusing on a topic of research relevant to autism. These targeted research meetings are invitation-only, and often serve to mix experts in autism with experts from outside the field. The objective of the meetings is to brainstorm about a particular issue crucial to progressing autism research.
In organizing these meetings, our aims are to spur creative processes and collaborative thought that focus research efforts, to continue expansion of the autism research community, to facilitate research collaborations, and to promote knowledge of and interactions with families affected by autism. Meetings tackling different facets of autism research allow all of this to happen much faster and in a much more directed fashion.
Please see below for a list of this year’s AS-Organized meetings plus highlights of recently held meetings.
View a list of meetings prior to 2006 here.
Autism Neuroimaging Summit Meeting
Los Angeles, CA
Autism and Gastroenterology Workshop
Autism Genome Project Meeting
New York, NY
Baby Siblings Research Consortium & Society for Research and Child Development Meeting
“Autism Speaks to the World”
National Science Foundation Mirror Neuron and Autism Workshop
Autism Speaks – National Institute of Mental Health Conference
New York, NY
Autism Speaks / CDC Workshop to study diagnosis of autism in developing / low resource countries
New York, NY
Baby Siblings Research Consortium Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA
Autism Speaks / CDC Registry Workgroup Meeting
New York, NY
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Meeting
“Development of Novel Neuropharmacological Therapeutics for Autism”
Boca Raton, FL
Previous Scientific Meetings
2005 Autism White Matter Think Tank
Recognizing that the issue of brain enlargement in autism may finally provide a biological substrate to explore autism pathophysiology, the February 2005 White Matter Think Tank (Malibu, CA) brought researchers together to brainstorm about the recent discovery of localized white matter increases in the brains of autistic children.
Through this forum, Cure Autism Now succeeded in bringing scientists from other disciplines into the field of autism. The outcome of the meeting was a clear set of directions which the research experts felt were required to understand the white matter enlargement and how it relates to other areas of autism research.
Cure Autism Now is currently using its resources to pursue these through a variety of granting mechanisms, including formation of our neuropathology workgroup, and funding of grants that study the physiological effects of white matter changes. This innovative meeting was covered in the New York Times (February 8, 2005, “Focus Narrows in Search for Autism’s Cause”, by Sandra Blakeslee).
Finally, it was at this forum that researchers suggested CAN sponsor a follow up meeting that would delve into imaging standards to lay the ground work for exploring the relationship between genotype and brain enlargement, which led to our 2006 Autism Neuroimaging Summit Meeting.
2004 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, which has since developed several programmatic areas including multi-year and fast track bridge grants. This initiative is multidisciplinary by design, and the on-going ITA workgroup spans academics, industry, and medical technology.
2002 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.
This forward-thinking meeting has provided a valuable volume which informs researchers today, as discovery research moves the field to more numerous clinical trials specifically designed for autism. This effort was solidified in 2005 by formation of our Clinical Trials Network, which is designed to do shared, rapid trials among a group of experienced clinical researchers who can enact the guidelines laid out by the Clinical Trials Task Force.
2002 Targeted Research in Autism Workshop
In April 2002, 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) pdf.
2000 Workshop on Mouse Models in Autism
On December 4, 2000 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. This meeting identified important aspects of research vital for advancing our understanding of autism including a more complete understanding of patterns of regional gene expression across early development and ways to begin identifying the genes that contribute to autism.
2000 Autism: Gut Brain Workshop
In July 2000, 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.
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, thus providing an incredibly useful initial assessment tool for clinicians at a time when autism was still rarely discussed.
1996 AGRE and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) Genetic Work Group
In 1996 Cure Autism Now sponsored its first meeting, which resulted in the establishment of AGRE. This has become an invaluable resource to the autism field (see AGRE for Families or AGRE for Researchers).
Subsequently, 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.
Scientific areas of expertise represented included geneticists, biochemists, pharmacogenomicists, bioinformaticians, statisticians, neurologists, and computer scientists from both academia and industry. The result was an early collective attempt to proactively determine association of specific genes with autism using the AGRE samples. This group also shared on-going discussions of the then emerging SNP technologies.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.