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Diana Robins, photo credit Tessa Marie Images

Autism Institute Director Dr. Diana Robins is 1 of 20 women recognized as pushing boundaries, shattering glass ceilings, & shifting perspectives around the Mainline.
Photo by Main Line Today & Tessa Marie Images

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EARLI Study Photo

We focus on public health oriented, community-based approaches to prevent disability and improve the quality of life of individuals with ASD.

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Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collobrative (ASERT),  Pennsylvania’s leading source of autism-related resources and information

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The A-Blog

Follow the latest research and projects updates at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute on The A-Blog.

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pregnant mother and child

A recording of our annual Autism & Public Health Lecture, "The Epidemiology of Autism: Investigating Perinatal Risk Factors," is now available. 

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Mobile REACH - Resources and Education for Autism and Community Health

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About Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders (or ASDs) are a set of serious neurodevelopmental disabilities that fundamentally alter individuals’ abilities to interact and communicate. The toll of autism spectrum disorders reverberates from the individual to the family, through the education system, and deep into both the social service and healthcare sectors. Now believed to affect nearly 1 in 54 children and perhaps as many as 5 million adults in the U.S., the prevalence of diagnosed autism spectrum disorders continues to rise. The direct care and associated indirect costs of autism spectrum disorders in the U.S. are now estimated to exceed $236 billion annually.

Research on autism spectrum disorders has gained considerable recent momentum especially in the areas of genetics and neurobiology. While it is hoped that fundamental biomedical research will reveal the elusive molecular mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorders, it is also increasingly acknowledged that diverse scientific perspectives are needed to help society effectively address this life-altering condition.  The sciences of public health bring population-focused strategies to the autism spectrum disorder research landscape and the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is the first autism spectrum disorder research center focused on public health science.

Five of the ten critical themes for autism spectrum disorder research highlighted in the US federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee's 2011 Strategic Plan for Autism Research, "prevention," "earlier detection," "lifespan perspective," "community engagement," and “ethical, legal and social implications,” are embodied in a public health, as opposed to a strictly biomedical, approach to autism spectrum disorder research. The same federal council selected several publications from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute as some of the top 20 influential advances in autism research of 2015.

Mission Statement

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is the first research organization built around a public health science approach to understanding and addressing the challenges of autism spectrum disorders. The Autism Institute's mission is to understand and address the challenges of autism by discovering, developing, and sharing population-level and community-based public health science.

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