The NLM Family Foundation supports autism-related endeavors in the following areas:
Advocacy, Education & Social Policy: The NLM Family Foundation supports a broad range of projects dedicated to advancing the cause of autism in the public arena: from capacity-building of public organizations; to nourishing progressive advocacy networks; to educating the public; to expanding community opportunities inclusive of individuals with autism; and, to examining public policy issues related to autism. The Foundation also supports the production and dissemination of films and other media to help increase society's awareness and understanding of autism.
Anatomy & Physiology:
The NLM Family Foundation is committed to increasing the scientific understanding of autism through investigating its roots in anatomy and physiology. As part of its strategy in pursuit of this goal, the Foundation supports research focused on exploring differences in brain structure and function in autism. Research in this area could contribute to better diagnostics and lead to improved treatment and rehabilitation therapies.
Many individuals with autism demonstrate difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication. The NLM Family Foundation supports projects aimed at investigating communication difficulties as well as communication capacities and options for individuals with autism. The study of communication modalities, with a translational orientation, is essential to developing support systems that may enhance the quality of life for many children and adults with autism.
The NLM Family Foundation supports a diversity of workshops and conferences that seek to synthesize new knowledge, address identified needs, and catalyze social change. This reflects the Foundation's commitment to progressive ideas generated by the professional and lay autism community at large. Such forums help provide the ground for building new networks and services for autism.
Genetics: Twin studies suggest that autism has a large genetic component; however, to date, few autism susceptibility genes have been identified. The Foundation has mounted a major initiative to identify these genes. The Foundation supports genetics projects to deepen our understanding of the underlying molecular and biological processes involved in autism. This knowledge may one day provide the framework for medical remediation.
The NLM Family Foundation is interested in the use of novel
brain imaging technologies to elucidate areas of brain structure
and activity which may shed light on autism. Research in
this area may contribute to the understanding of cognitive,
sensory and motor processes; to a deeper understanding of
behavioral differences in autism; to the future study of
rehabilitation/education strategies; and to future
investigations of brain plasticity and developmental changes.
and Molecular Mechanisms: Genetic and animal model studies
have identified cellular circuits which control the responses
to outside stimulation by growth or stress factors. In neurons
these same circuits are active in dendritic spines, micron-sized
structures at the point of contact between communicating
neurons. Change in these biochemical compartments is the
basis of synaptic plasticity, the physical process underlying
learning and memory. The NLM Family Foundation funds projects
in this and other areas of biochemistry.
Diagnosis: The NLM Family Foundation supports research aimed at improving treatments including biomedical, pharmacological, psychosocial, and assistive technologies that will improve the quality of life for those living with autism.
Treatments: The NLM Family Foundation is particularly interested in research leading to enhanced diagnostic procedures for those persons with autism who are nonverbal or have limited speech.
The NLM Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals.