New Center at Washington Univ. To Search for Autism Cure
There is a new Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (WUIDDRC) being established at Washington University. The focus will be on clinical and translational research as well as reaching out to parents in the community to offer resources and services to infants and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like those with autism.
The WUIDDRC is being funded by a five-year, $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The focus of the research will be on preventing and treating developmental disorders in children. The WUIDDRC will work closely with the State of Missouri to help assist with future considerations of services.
In order to help spread the ways the research can translate into actual, practical services, the WUIDDRC has partnered with other organizations, including the Missouri Foundation for Health; Ranken-Jordan (special pediatric hospital); the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri; The Institute for Human Development in Kansas City, Mo. and more. These organizations will also provide input to the WUIDDRC to help guide the direction research takes by letting them know what is needed.
The center’s research will dig into such issues as cerebral connectivity, genetics and environmental influences. The departments will be administrative, animal models, human clinical, imaging and biostatistics and informatics. This is good news for parents who are still asking “Why?” when thinking about how their child’s developmental disability came to be.
Parents feel that if they knew the answer to why or how their child came to have autism, or any other developmental disability, this will lead to better treatments, and for some, a cure. Not all parents desire a “cure” as they believe it will erase some positive attributes their child has. But there are plenty of parents out there whose children function at a level that leaves them wondering what quality of life level will their child have without some kind of intervention or cure. And for those adults on the spectrum who often go ignored, some of the findings from this research center may apply to them as well.