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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Report on the Combating Autism Act

For the congressional Coalition for Autism Research and Education, NIMH's Office of Autism Research Coordination has prepared a report on the implementation of the 2006 Combating Autism Act. The executive summary:
In support of a coordinated Federal strategy for ASD research and services, the Combating Autism Act of 2006 reconstituted the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). Members include the above-listed HHS agencies (with the exception of AHRQ), the Department of Education and public members, including people with autism, parents of people with autism, leaders of national autism organizations, a researcher and a physician. This report provides a summary of the IACC’s efforts, in addition to those of individual Federal agencies, over the past four years. These collaborative and coordinated efforts have served well to identify promising ASD research areas as well as to pinpoint both best-practices and gaps in ASD research and supports. Recent highlights in ASD research include the development of new diagnostic tools, identification of novel genetic and environmental risk factors, clinical trials of interventions, and measures of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based services for people with ASD. In addition to descriptions of Federal ASD-related research and services-related efforts, this report also presents current ASD prevalence estimates, the present diagnostic and intervention landscape, ongoing efforts to identify gaps in and develop effective new ASD supports and services programs, and forward-looking strategies to address the continuing needs of diverse ASD communities.