Overview of the Autism Initiative
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents many challenges for families and national economic costs attributed to caring for children with ASDs were estimated at $11.5 billion in 2011. Nationally, the prevalence of ASD among 8 year olds has been estimated to be as high as one out of every 68 children. In Rhode Island, the number of children with ASDs receiving special education services has increased dramatically, from only 30 children in 1993 to 2,240 in 2014. The long-term vision of the Precision Medicine Program is to provide comprehensive assessments of children with an established or suspected diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. These assessments would include evaluations by a multidisciplinary team including pediatricians, geneticists, psychologists, neurodevelopment specialists, genetic counselors, and ethicists. Families will then be followed annually to assess the clinical and life course to identify genetic and epigenetic markers, as well as other biomarkers, that can help predict outcomes and guide individualized approaches to treatments.