Today we simply don’t know enough about autism. SPARK—a landmark autism research project—aims to make important progress possible. SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research,’ and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.
Download the 5-Year Progress Report (PDF format) to learn what the community has accomplished since SPARK’s launch in 2016.
WHY YOU CAN TRUST SPARK: OUR STORY
SPARK, the world’s largest autism research study, is part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, or “SFARI.”
Marilyn and Jim Simons founded the Simons Foundation over 26 years ago to advance basic science — science that uncovers how the world works. The Simons family provides all funding for the foundation, so the foundation — and SPARK — do not need to fundraise. Learn more…
As autism is a spectrum, researchers need many people with autism to participate in all types of research. Until now, only a small number of individuals and families affected by autism have ever participated in research. SPARK wants to invite the entire autism community to dramatically expand its participation.
SPARK will provide researchers with medical and genetic information from tens of thousands of individuals and families affected by autism. These data will power important new research that aims to advance the understanding of autism and provide meaningful information and resources to participants.
Interested in joining SPARK? Here’s what you should know.
MEET OUR CLINICAL SITE PARTNERS
More than 30 of the nation’s leading medical schools and autism research centers have joined SPARK to help recruit individuals and families affected by autism. These institutions are located in all regions of the United States and have been leaders in advancing the science of autism.
Working with their existing patient populations and through community outreach, the clinical sites will play a key role in SPARK recruitment.
ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL
MEET OUR DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION ADVISORY BOARD
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Board guides SPARK’s efforts to increase representation of communities of color in autism research. It is a diverse group of scientists, clinicians, and community leaders who provide guidance on strategies to build partnerships, increase awareness, and promote participation in research among underrepresented racial and ethnic communities. Learn more…
MEET OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
SPARK has partnered with national and local autism community organizations across the U.S. to help find research participants and spread the word about this landmark study.
Most of these organizations traditionally have focused on providing services, advocacy, resources and networking opportunities, rather than the science of autism. With SPARK, more members of the autism community can now learn and be a part of autism research. Learn more…
MEET OUR PARTICIPANTS
People from all over the country are joining SPARK, and they want to share their stories. From anecdotes about registering for SPARK to accounts of how families dealt with diagnoses, SPARK community members are sharing their experiences with one another.