Throughout April, several organizations are drawing attention to autism to encourage understanding and awareness of the disorder and acceptance of individuals who live, learn, and work on the autism spectrum. For some people, exploring the research in autism can add to their understanding and awareness — from clinical research to understand the symptoms and identify the causes, to field-initiated development of interventions and technology to support independent living and employment success. According to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a recent census found more than 1,500 research projects around the world focusing on autism. Currently (April 2020), there are more than a dozen NIDILRR-funded projects conducting research and development to support the independence of people with autism. Here are three ways to explore NIDILRR-funded research in this area:
Current and Completed Projects
The NIDILRR Program Database lists more than 3,000 projects funded over 40 years in all disability areas. Currently active projects in autism include
- Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers on employment, community living and participation, and family support.
- Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects testing interventions for transition from school to work, community participation, and parenting skills.
- Field Initiated Projects and Fellowships focused on screening, parent supports, transition to college, and increasing community participation.
More than 45 completed projects are also listed in the Program Database, including Small Business Innovation Research projects that developed technology that is now available in the marketplace.
Research In Focus
These NIDILRR-funded projects published scores of peer-reviewed studies each year. Our Research In Focus series highlights these studies in lay-language summaries. We’ve featured a dozen autism-related studies in this series:
- A Comprehensive Job Development Program May Help Youth with ASD Make the Successful Transition from School to Work
- A Helpful Bug In Your Ear: Covert Audio Coaching Shows Promise to Help Young Adults with ASD to Navigate Peer Conversations
- A New Tablet-Based System Shows Promise in Helping Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder Stay on Task at School
- A New Video Game-Like Assessment Activity Can Easily Measure Social Information Processing Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities May Face Challenges to Staying Physically Active
- Animation May Help Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Learn to Use Symbol-Based Communication Devices
- Changes in Policy May Mean Better Access to Interventions for Children with ASD
- Home and Community Based Waivers May Make Family Life Easier for Families of Children with Autism
- Parents Taking Action: A New Program to Empower Latinx Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Peer to Peer: Training Peer Health Coaches to Lead a Health Messages Program for Their Peers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
- Support Services Teams May Help People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions Receive Support in Their Communities and Reduce Medicaid Costs
- The Right Supports Can Improve Opportunities for Job Seekers with Autism Spectrum Disorders
NARIC’s REHABDATA database indexes more than 200,000 pieces of research literature from the NIDILRR grantees and the greater disability and rehabilitation research community, including international research publications. More than 2,000 articles, books, reports, and consumer pieces on autism are indexed in this database, with more than 260 pieces produced by the grantee community:
- Browse through all 260+ abstracts of documents produced under a NIDILRR grant since 1989.
- Browse through more than 180 produced in the last 10 years.
- Autism and employment or vocational rehabilitation
- Autism and transition
- Autism and parenting
- Autism and technology
That’s just a few ways to explore the literature indexed in REHABDATA. You can try your own search, browse through the current projects in the Program Database, and explore more articles in our Research In Focus series. If you are searching for organizations that support people with autism and their families, visit our Knowledgebase database. Our information specialists are also available to help you find the right research, books, or organizations to meet your needs.