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Mobility for Kids Helps Fund Autism Research Pilot Study

One of our primary goals is to support research that aims to increase children’s mobility and improve their lives. The first research project we were involved with included students in a special school for children with autism. The Central District Autism Program in Wahiawa, Hawaii, conducted this pilot project. They wanted to test the effects using a Sensorimotor Ride-on Utility (SRU) device called the Pumper Car on stereotypical behaviors, academic response, and social interactions of children with autism.

Data from this study indicated that the children who used the Pumper Car not only increased their academic responding after riding the SRU, they also decreased problem behaviors. Furthermore, they were motivated to choose the SRU during their break times when given a choice of reinforcers.

The results of this pilot project were insightful, and we plan to support similar research that will help autistic children and their families.

Benefits of Funding Autism Research

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is estimated that one in 36 children in the United States is diagnosed with ASD, making it one of the most prevalent developmental disorders (CDC, April 2023). Despite its prevalence, the causes and effective treatments for ASD remain largely unknown. Funding autism research is essential to better understand the disorder and to develop effective interventions and treatments.

Importance of Funding Autism Research

Funding autism research is critical to advancing our understanding of the disorder and improving the lives of individuals with autism and their families. Here are some of the key reasons why:

  • Better Understanding of Autism

    Funding research into the causes and mechanisms of autism can help us better understand the disorder. This can lead to earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments, and improved quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. Research can also help identify risk factors and early warning signs, which can lead to earlier interventions and better outcomes.

  • Early Diagnosis and Intervention

    It is critical that individuals with autism receive an early diagnosis and intervention. Research can help identify early warning signs and develop effective screening tools. Early interventions such as behavioral therapies can improve outcomes and lead to better long-term outcomes. Funding research in this area can help identify the most effective early interventions and ensure that all individuals with autism receive the care they need.

  • Development of Effective Treatments

    Currently, there are no specific medications that can treat the core symptoms of autism. However, research can help identify new medications and treatments that can improve outcomes for individuals with autism. The development of effective treatments can be accelerated by funding of this area.

  • Improved Quality of Life for Individuals with Autism and Their Families

    Individuals with autism and their families face many challenges, including social isolation, communication difficulties, and behavioral challenges. Research can help identify ways to improve quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. This can involve developing better support services, improving access to resources, and reducing the stigma associated with autism.

Current State of Autism Research Funding

Autism research is primarily funded by both government and private sources. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary source of government funding for autism research in the United States. NIH has invested more than $2.3 billion in autism research since 2008 (NIH, 2021). But despite the significant investment in autism research, it still falls short of what is needed to fully understand and treat this disorder.

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