Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability. One in 59 children in the U.S. has a diagnosis of autism by the age of 8. More than 3.5 million Americans are estimated to be living with ASD.
The U.S spends over $350 million a year on autism research. Yet, across the spectrum, the quality of life remains poor. An estimated 30% of individuals with ASD need daily one-on-one care and over 40% are unable to find or hold down a job.
While we do not completely understand what factors could best contribute to improved quality of life and optimal outcomes, there is sufficient evidence from contemporary research that comorbid physical conditions and psychiatric comorbidities occur at an increased rate in individuals with autism.
However, in spite of significant investment in research, we lack FDA approved interventions for comorbidities and core disabilities associated with autism. In addition, many of these persons cannot communicate through speech, or adequately advocate for themselves, making health conditions hard to diagnose. We lack a robust Standard Of Care (SOC) or consensus clinical practice guidelines for medical comorbidities in children and adults with ASD. The result: a lower quality of life, increased mortality risk, and an impaired ability to participate in education, employment, and the activities of daily living.
We need more research focused on addressing the core disabilities and improving the quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum. There is also a significant unmet need for proactive medical care for children and adults with autism.
The BRAIN Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit. The founders of BRAIN envision a world where every child and adult on the autism spectrum is healthy, participates fully in education and employment, and has a better quality of life. We aim to catalyze research that results in evidence-based interventions for the disabilities associated with autism, and also results in better medical standard of care.
To accomplish this, we fund impactful research through our philanthropy and our network of partners in the venture, corporate, and grassroots community. We organize initiatives to translate research discoveries into evidence-based treatments for medical co-morbidities and disabilities associated with autism spectrum disorder. And, we create awareness of evidence-based treatments among clinicians, urgent care facilities, and hospitals that service people with developmental disabilities.
Our approach to funding medical research is informed by the voices of individuals at all levels of severity on the autism spectrum. Our approach is also informed by the convergence of technology and life sciences currently transforming medical research, drug discovery and healthcare delivery. This convergence has the potential to accelerate answers for many health conditions. As technology executives and entrepreneurs, we want to leverage this trend to profoundly change outcomes for children and adults on the autism spectrum.