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Spectrum: Autism Research News


Legacy Special Reports

Curated collections of articles on special topics in autism.

Colorful illustration shows pills, bottles and blister packs falling all around.

Spectrum’s Autism Drug Tracker, an interactive tool to explore clinical trial data

by  /  12 January 2022

Spectrum’s Autism Drug Tracker provides interactive, curated information about hundreds of clinical trials for autism and related conditions.

Previous articles
November 2021
Illustration of a network of blue neurons overlaid with marijuana leaves.

Special report: How cannabis could shape future autism therapies

by  /  8 November 2021

Cannabis-derived drugs are approved to treat only a small number of autism-related conditions, but many autistic people and their families experiment with medical marijuana to ease autism traits. In this special report, Spectrum rounds up what the science says about cannabis and autism.

September 2021
A lighthearted, colorful, chaotic lab scene with fruit flies, worms peeking out of petri dishes, zebrafish in beakers and an octopus creeping out of a cabinet..

Special report: Unusual animal models of autism

by  /  8 September 2021

In the past two decades, some autism researchers have turned to simple animals, such as roundworms, fruit flies and zebrafish, for their investigations. Others have sought answers from experiments with frogs, birds and even octopuses.

May 2021
Young boy walks through doorway lit up with his area of interest.

Special Report: Autistic strengths and special interests

by  /  12 May 2021

Social difficulties. Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Sensory sensitivity. Autism has long been defined by its challenges But autism sometimes comes with advantages. This special report highlights those advantages and describes the research behind them.

December 2020
Hand moves petri dish in row of dishes and vials that make up the numbers 2020.

Hindsight is 2020: The year in review

by  /  23 December 2020

This has been a year like no other. Our lives were upended in the first quarter as the novel coronavirus spread to every corner of the globe.

November 2020
Illustration shows autistic teen stimming while a policeman reaches for handcuffs.

When autism and law enforcement meet

by  /  26 November 2020

As many headlines attest, encounters between autistic people and first responders become fraught far too often, leading to violence and lasting trauma. In this special report, we explore what research tells us about these interactions and training to improve them, as well as the challenges autistic people experience in the criminal justice system.

June 2020
lone researcher confronts the giant coronavirus from within the pillars of a crumbling institution

Autism and the coronavirus pandemic

by  /  17 June 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is altering autism research in unprecedented ways. It also has had a huge impact on the diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

December 2019

2019: Year in review

by  /  23 December 2019

Take a look back at the year’s notable papers and hot topics in autism research, plus Spectrum’s standout stories and quotes.

October 2019
researchers are measuring a big lego brain

Special Report: Lessons from other fields

by  /  21 October 2019

Autism is a chameleon: What it looks like changes from one person to the next. Individual differences crop up both in its core features and in the conditions that often accompany it: depression, epilepsy, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

May 2019

Theories of autism

by  /  1 May 2019

No one knows exactly what lies at the root of autism — but that hasn’t stopped scientists from speculating.

April 2019
Mother and daughter look to their right. Photos are in the background, along with a wall clock.

Genetic testing for autism

by  /  10 April 2019

How clinical genetics is giving families long-sought answers and transforming autism care.


Browse Articles by Topic

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  • Genes


  • The Brain

    The Brain

  • Diagnosis


  • Signs and Symptoms

    Signs & Symptoms

  • Treatments


  • Environment


  • Science and Society

    Science & Society