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Autistica is a UK charity engaged in funding and campaigning for research on autism and related conditions. Their research strategy for 2017–18 is focused on research to improve understanding and support for mental health, physical health, language and epilepsy in autism.
Autistica was founded in 2004 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley. They initially operated as a UK partner to the US charity Autism Speaks. The link with the US parent was severed from 1 January 2010. Autistica is registered in and operates throughout England and Wales.
The mission and goals of Autistica are distinct from those of the UK-based National Autistic Society (NAS). While Autistica concentrates its efforts on research into the causes and treatments of autism, with a view to reduce the age of diagnosis, provide effective, evidence-based treatments for people with ASD, particularly co-occurring problems, including epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and severe maladaptive behaviours (SMB) and researching autism and ageing, the NAS focuses on the service needs of autistic individuals.
Autistica funds medical research to understand the causes of autism, improve diagnosis, and develop new treatments and interventions. They are the UK’s leading autism medical research charity.
Their current scientific priorities are to:
- Bring down the average age of diagnosis and develop early interventions that can improve the outlook for individuals with autism.
- Improve the quality of life for young people and adults with autism by understanding the additional physical and mental health issues that many individuals experience and ensure the development of effective treatments.
- Support adults with autism through improving our understanding of how autism changes over the lifespan and making sure that adult specific needs are addressed.
Autistica uses a peer review process to make sure that the science they fund is of the highest quality. They are members of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) which reflects the rigour of their funding process. Final funding decisions are made with the guidance of Autistica’s Scientific Review Panel made up of top UK and international researchers.
In 2009, Autistica provided a total of £940,000 to its beneficiaries in autism research.
Notable members and participants
- "Autism Speaks UK Founder Appointed as Philanthropy Ambassador". April 27, 2009.
- "Autism Speaks". Dame Stephanie Shirley. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- "Whose Planet Is It Anyway?: Autism Speaks Loses UK Affiliate". Whose Planet Is It Anyway?. Autisticbfh.blogspot.com. 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- "Autistica - Charity overview". Charity Commission. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- "Our Services". The National Autistic Society. Retrieved 26 May 2012.