On July 10th, the federal government’s Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) released a new report analyzing the distribution of autism research dollars in 2010. This report – entitled the IACC ASD Research Portfolio – is an annual responsibility of the federal government under Public Law 112-32. At first glance, the report shows significant steps forward on one of the key priorities of the Autistic and autism communities: the percentage of research funding going towards services research: OARC reports 16% of the autism research agenda funding this priority, up from 3% in 2009. However, further scrutiny reveals that rather than an actual increase in the percentage of funding allocated to services research, OARC instead chose to re-classify existing training programs as “research” to give the impression of progress. Instead of getting more funding for services-research, we’ve just gotten creative accounting, re-classifying practitioner training programs as research activities.
Autistic people and our families deserve better. Help us tell OARC as much by signing our action alert to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, NIMH Director Tom Insel and OARC Director Susan Daniels, urging them to revise the 2010 IACC Research Portfolio Analysis to reflect the real data. Furthermore, tell them that we’ve noticed how little progress has been made in funding research into the needs of Autistic adults – still only 2% of the research agenda. Demand real action to address the imbalances in our autism research agenda. It is time to make them hear our voices.