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The July 11 2008 issue of the Journal 'SCIENCE' carries as its cover article the results of research into the genetics of autism. The research described in this article was led by Dr Chris Walsh, Chief of Genetics at Children's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts, and was a collaborative effort between major US research institutes and research scientists of many other countries. It is recognised as a critical breakthrough in the scientific understanding of autism, with the prospect of even more developments in the treatment and perhaps even prevention of autism in the future.

ATAC felt this breakthrough so important that we obtained a copy of the research paper itself. Unfortunately, it is a highly technical document, and none of our executive are geneticists! Although the paper did throw some light on the research findings, the language and the science of the paper eventually defeated us,. For this reason we feel unable to present our own analysis of this research. [If there is a trained geneticist out there please contact us!] Instead, we have decided to distribute the press reports of the research, as well as the public statements of the researchers and some leading experts in the field evaluating its significance.

We also decided to give some insights and observations of our understanding of all the material that we have read since the release of this ground breaking research. However, be aware that we may have some of the finer details wrong, and take that into account as you read. All the same, ATAC feels that it is extremely important that this latest research is broadcast widely throughout the autistic, and general, community.

It is also clear that this research strongly validates the intensive individual behavioural programmes supported by ATAC, and removes their efficacy from the arena of debate.

ATAC has set out its observations in detail, and has provided links to a wide number of relevant and easy to articles setting out this research. By clicking on the two following links you will be able to access ATAC's observations, and the news articles on the recent research.


LINKS: [Including links to relevant articles]

The future is opening up for autistic children. HOWEVER, our legislators now must move to fall in line with this new research so that our children can enjoy this future. The mistaken policies of the present must be changed, and changed quickly.

Early screening programmes for autistic children must be instituted for all children at the age of 18 and 24 months.

For those who are identified as at risk there must be immediate diagnosis by qualified professionals, and immediate placement into early intervention programmes using ABA. The brain's plasticity is at its greatest in its early years, and new neuronal pathways are easier to build during this period. If we grasp the opportunity offered to us, our autistic children will be able to cope and succeed in the school environment when they reach school age.

The executive of ATAC is excited by this research and believes the findings need to be circulated widely, and looks forward to all feedback, especially from those who have family members with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.


ATAC - Action for Tasmanian Autistic Children!