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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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Special Reports

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

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.

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

Special Report: Autistic strengths and special interests

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.

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

When autism and law enforcement meet

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.

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

Autism and the coronavirus pandemic

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.

2019: Year in review

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

researchers are measuring a big lego brain

Special Report: Lessons from other fields

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.

Theories of autism

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

Footprints form the shape of '2018'

2018: Year in Review

Take a look back at the year’s hot topics, notable papers and top Spectrum stories, plus innovative programs and artists changing how we view autism.