Federal government makes annual request for input on autism research

The U.S.Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is seeking comments to inform the annual update of its Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Research. The IACC comprises representatives from agencies within the federal Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education as well as public members.

According to the Combating Autism Act of 2006, the IAAC must develop a strategic plan for autism research and update it annually. This plan is used to guide federal activities related to ASD, including research funding by the National Institutes of Health. The current plan is organized into seven main chapters, each addressing a question important for people with ASD and their families:

  1. When should I be concerned? (Diagnosis)
  2. How can I understand what is happening? (Biology of ASD)
  3. What caused this to happen and can this be prevented? (Risk Factors)
  4. Which treatments and interventions will help? (Treatments and Interventions)
  5. Where can I turn for services? (Services)
  6. What does the future hold, especially for adults? (Lifespan Issues)
  7. What other infrastructure and surveillance needs must be met? (Surveillance and Infrastructure)

Scientists and other stakeholders are asked to provide comments on “ what has been learned about the issues covered in [each] chapter in the past year, and on what you consider to be the remaining gaps in the subject area covered by that chapter.” Respondents can also provide general comments.

Instructions for formatting and submitting responses can be found in the Request for Information (NOT-MH-10-25), which is issued by the National Institute of Mental Health on behalf of the IACC. The deadline for responses is July 30, 2010.