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Traditionally, our nation’s conversation and policies surrounding autism have been comparable to a car without a dashboard. Researchers in our field often talk about “moving the needle” on key topics like employment and postsecondary education. However, it’s hard to move a needle when you don’t have a gauge to measure how it’s moving.

One aspect of our work is to address the lack of national-level indicators for the life outcomes of people on the autism spectrum. We’re creating the gauges for agencies, communities and our nation to refer to when assessing how we’re doing at improving their quality of life.

We are among the first in the field to provide national-level benchmarks, and have been formally recognized by Autism Speaks and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee in their yearly reviews of impactful autism research.