The Combating Autism Act of 2006 was signed by President Bush on December 19, 2006. This Act expands activities related to autism research, surveillance, prevention, screening, early detection and intervention, education, training and treatment. The new legislation will increase federal spending on autism by at least 50 percent. It includes provisions relating to the diagnosis and treatment of persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and expands and intensifies biomedical research on autism. The Act also calls on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to enhance information sharing. The IACC provides a forum to facilitate the efficient and effective exchange of information about autism activities, programs, policies, and research among the Federal government, several non-profit groups, and the public. The Combating Autism Act requires the IACC to provide information and recommendations on ASD-related programs, and to continue its work to develop and update annually a strategic plan for ASD research.
The Combating Autism Act of 2011 (PUBLIC LAW 112–32) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 20, 2011. This law ensures that the programs established under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 continue for an additional three years, including CDC surveillance programs, HRSA interdisciplinary training programs, and research at NIH.
The Children's Health Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-310), Title I, Section 104, mandated the establishment of an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to coordinate autism research and other efforts. The National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health has been designated the lead for this activity. Members of IACC include agencies across departments and parents or legal guardians of individuals with autism or other pervasive developmental disorders.
Resources from the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research: Calendar Year 2011 (April 2012)
This summary provides short, plain language synopses of the top twenty ASD research breakthroughs for 2011. The articles are grouped according to the questions of the 2011 Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research. The Strategic Plan is organized around seven important questions for people with ASD and their families regarding diagnosis, the biology of autism, risk factors, treatments and interventions, services and supports, and questions about issues faced by adolescents, adults and seniors with autism and their families.
Evaluating Progress on the IACC Autism Research Matrix (2006) (downloaded 4/18/11). The Autism Research Matrix was developed in 2003 by an IACC-convened panel of experts who evaluated the field of autism research and developed a matrix of action items that could be used in planning for research in the years ahead. The matrix includes content areas of communication and collaboration, characterization of autism, school and community interventions, early intervention, epidemiological studies, specific treatments, neuroscience, screening, and the role of the environment in autism. This 2006 report updates and reviews the state of autism research, moving section by section, element by element, through the matrix.
The 2005 ASD Services Roadmap was developed by the ASD Expert Working Group (EWG), a panel of autism experts established by the Services Subcommittee of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee in July 2004. The EWG reviewed the state of the field to identify principles of best practices, challenges, and recommendations to provide the blueprint for a national public and private implementation plan for expanding and improving ASD services.
The Autism Summit Conference, organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education and the IACC, was held on November 19-20, 2003 in order "to engage in a public dialogue concerning issues such as implementation of optimal services, early screening and diagnosis, and biomedical research." The archived webcast of the Autism Summit sessions is available.
Resources from Members of the IACC
Autism Awareness and Acceptance in Early Childhood Education - This Website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) includes fact sheets, videos, tips, and links to state-specific resources. One of the resources includes Tips for Early Care and Education Providers: Simple Concepts to Embed in Everyday Routines (2013) offered by autism intervention researchers around the country and compiled by ACF and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
The National Institutes of Health support two major research networks dedicated to understanding and treating autism. The Autism Intervention Research Network Web site provides a single source of information about these networks and the research they conduct. (downloaded 7/16/10)
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an Autism Information Center that includes information about the rate of autism, symptoms of autism, and a link to CDC's public awareness campaign for early detection of autism, Learn the Signs. Act Early.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is doing research into various aspects of autism, including its causes, prevalence, and treatments. The NICHD Autism Research site provides easy access to the most current information about NICHD research projects, publications, news releases, and other activities related to autism and similar disorders.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language. Information on autism from the institute may be found at NIDCD Health Information: Autism and Communication.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Autism Web Site includes booklets, summaries, fact sheets, autism research at NIMH including information on clinical trials that are being conducted, an autism listserv, conference and workshop summaries, and press releases.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) addresses neurological disease. Information from NINDS on autism spectrum disorders includes:
The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Library, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, has released a 2009 edition of its Knowledge Path on Autism Spectrum Disorders, an electronic guide to resources on ASD. It contains sections on early identification, early intervention and education, concerns about vaccines, and environmental health research.