Last year was a great one for the Autism Research Trust. We continue to fund research to understand the causes of autism, improve diagnosis and explore interventions to ensure that autistic people receive the best possible support. In this time, we have helped various researchers and funded 11 incredible projects!

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92p of every £1

Autism research is an area that has historically been underfunded at all levels. The Autism Research Trust has helped to fill some of this funding gap; bringing funds to academic research in autism, whilst also raising awareness of autism as a condition.

Last year, we contributed or committed to contributing over £1.1m to autism research and 92p of every £1 was spent on charitable activities!

Diverse, cutting edge research projects

Last year, our funding went towards helping over 15 different researchers at various levels of their career as well as supporting 11 research projects across a wide range of disciplines.

Our research projects ranged from continuing our genetic research by investigating the role of NRXN1 in autism to a self-report survey of the vulnerability of autistic children in schools.

We looked into improving the early detection of autism by funding studies for both both hormones and biomarkers in pregnancy in one project as well as the effectiveness of prenatal sex steroid exposure that can be measured on ultrasound in another.

We funded research that looked into autism and the criminal justice system and possible reasonable adjustments that could be made to ensure fair trials for autistic individuals. We also helped in the investigation of the suggestion that autistic individuals and their relatives are at a higher risk of developing cancer, as well as funding a study on early brain development to examine how early neural growth is related to the development of behavioural traits that might be related to the development of autism.

Incredible results

One of the challenges of research is that it takes time and does not always have immediate impact. What we saw last year, however, were some of the results from the projects that we have funded in previous years.

During this time, the Autism Research Trust awarded funding to the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge which resulted in being cited in 16 scientific articles, published in high quality peer reviewed journals across a wide variety of topics in autism. 

Many of these articles focused on autism and its interaction with common co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, sensory processing and anorexia nervosa. You can read the full story on the Impact Report 2017-18.

The future of the Autism Research Trust

We are indebted to all our donors – those individuals that have donated, those who have held or participated in events, and those that have donated through their company, trust or foundation. We are also incredibly thankful for those that have provided support to us by making introductions, setting up meetings or offered their help in any way. Thank you all.

In the future, we are looking to carry on with funding our current research, look into other important areas and fund the translation of the outcomes of the studies we have funded through writing national policy guidelines.

There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that autistic people and their families have the support that they require in their daily lives. With your continued support, we will keep investing in vital autism research in a wide variety of areas to bring understanding and help to all autistic people who need it.

If you would like to support more of this pioneering work you can donate online.

Download the full Impact Report