National foundation building research database of people with autism

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The goal is to be a network 50,000 people strong. A network that connects researchers to the families they’re trying to help.

The Simons Foundation has created a project called “SPARK” or the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge. This project is set to be a landmark, speeding up research and advancement of the understanding of autism.

There is very little information on the autism spectrum as a whole, because each person functions differently than the next.

The Summit Center in Getzville provides different resources to families and individuals with the disorder, ranging from school programs to consulting. Amy Jablonski, Vice President of Education and Behavioral Health, at Summit says, “The spectrum is so broad right now we really need to start identifying smaller pieces of autism to figure out the difference between individuals so we can make sure treatments will work for them.”

Jablonski recommends all families in Western New York to become part of the research project. “Really, what the future holds for autism is moving toward more individualized medicine so a lot of what SPARK is doing, is genetic research,” This research could help doctors and therapists understand the disorder more and create a better plan of treatment, earlier. Currently, less than 200 families in WNY have registered to be part of the database.


SPARK will provide researchers with medical and genetic information. You can opt to submit a DNA sample obtained by a cheek swab.

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