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Goal: 30,000 Progress: 419
Sponsored by: The Autism Site

Tell the National Institutes of Health (NIH), our biggest funder of autism research, to provide more funding into researching lifespan issues.

Research on lifespan issues — things that concern adults on the spectrum — has historically been severely understudied. According to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's 2013 report on autism research, only one percent of research funding was granted to lifespan issues, [1] making it the most neglected area of autism research.

The priority of most funders? Looking into the biological mechanisms behind autism (32 percent in 2013). While this is an important area of study, it is not what the autism community needs most.

According to a poll on The Autism Site Blog that consisted of 473 votes, most responders (28 percent) thought research on lifespan issues needed to take priority. [2] Biological factors came in dead last, with just under 10 percent of voters favoring this area of research. Many other advocates outside of this poll also believe that we need to focus more on lifespan issues in our autism research ventures. [3]

This is not surprising. Society is facing a wave of autistic adults who are aging out of the system, but we don't have the information we need to help them survive and thrive. No wonder one of the biggest fears of parents centers around the future: "What will happen to my child when I am gone?" they wonder and hardly dare to think about.

This needs to change. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has historically been the United States' biggest funder of autism research; as such, they are in the best position to help us sort out this issue. If they truly care about helping autistics, they need to step up to the plate and prioritize what the autism community itself really needs.

Sign Here

Dear National Institutes of Health (NIH),

For years now, you have been the largest funder of autism research. We thank you for this, as you have helped contribute to our knowledge of a very misunderstood disorder.

However, we are immensely concerned about the overall lack of funding that has gone toward researching autism lifespan issues — issues that the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) has cited as "urgent." In 2013, only one percent of overall research funding went toward this venture, whereas much more funding was granted to research that has less practical importance to the autism community, like biology.

However, the autism community at large is crying for more knowledge on lifespan issues. Children with autism are growing up, and parents are fretting about their futures. As more and more of these children reach adulthood and phase out of the system, research on lifespan issues takes on even more critical importance.

Yet many organizations donating to autism research, the NIH included, continue to place emphasis on research that the autism community does not need nearly as desperately. But that does not need to be the case. As the largest funder of autism research year after year, you are in a prime position to change this.

Therefore, we implore you to funnel more research funds into lifespan issues. In doing this, you could greatly benefit individuals on the spectrum and their families. While learning more about autism's biology for future populations is important, there are also millions of people who are here right now and in desperate need of your help.

Thank you for your consideration.


Petition Signatures

Jan 18, 2018 Perlita Schubert
Jan 14, 2018 Richard Bosboom
Jan 14, 2018 Ivy Slater
Jan 5, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jan 2, 2018 Alexandria Harwood
Jan 2, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Dec 29, 2017 Isabela Calin
Dec 28, 2017 Julie Matewicz
Dec 28, 2017 George Anderson
Dec 28, 2017 jane cook
Dec 28, 2017 natalie hughes
Dec 19, 2017 jole lheureux
Dec 17, 2017 Ashley Anderson
Dec 14, 2017 Richard Bosboom
Dec 11, 2017 Donna Jay
Dec 10, 2017 Martha Eberle
Dec 5, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Dec 2, 2017 robin karlsson
Nov 26, 2017 Mary Bissell
Nov 23, 2017 Michalla Sutton
Nov 21, 2017 kim wilbur
Nov 21, 2017 Carla Marques
Nov 21, 2017 Rhonda Lawford
Nov 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 18, 2017 Charles Pan
Nov 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 18, 2017 Jim Sheridan
Nov 17, 2017 Casey Jo Remy
Nov 16, 2017 Emma Spurgin Hussey
Nov 16, 2017 cathy mitchamore
Nov 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 13, 2017 Caroline CEDELLE
Nov 11, 2017 Sarah Desousa
Nov 10, 2017 Aleasa Crary
Nov 9, 2017 Paul-Denis Clermont
Nov 9, 2017 Karen McMurray Let's spend the time and the money to research lifespan issues.
Nov 8, 2017 Lindsey Dakin
Nov 7, 2017 Paul & Monica Biggers
Nov 7, 2017 Anthony & Libby Fashaw
Nov 7, 2017 Pamela Kil
Nov 7, 2017 Jeff & Anika Dubois
Nov 7, 2017 Esztergalyos-Schiele Family
Nov 7, 2017 Karen Sanders
Nov 7, 2017 Cheryl Papadakis
Nov 7, 2017 Jennifer McCann Vertetis
Nov 7, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 6, 2017 Lovelle Suarez
Nov 6, 2017 Leslie Cassidy

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