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Science & Society

From funding decisions to scientific fraud, a wide range of societal factors shape autism research.

December 2020
Global map of 17,800 human proteins.
News / Toolbox

Proteome map identifies more than 90 percent of all human proteins

by  /  9 December 2020

Researchers expand on the already enormous progress made on the Human Proteome Project

Two children are interacting with a toy in the shape of a brain.
Opinion / Q&A

How redefining autism could improve research on the condition

by  /  8 December 2020

Ami Klin wants researchers, clinicians and policymakers to think of autism as something inborn that only predisposes a child to certain traits. Early intervention can change the course of development.

Week of NovemberNov
News / Spotted

Spotted around the web: Dance revolution, Angelman trial, predicting proteins

by  /  4 December 2020

Here is a roundup of news and research for the week of 30 November.

Portrait of of Kim Kaiser, Director of programming at Color of Autism.
Opinion / Q&A

How autism researchers can better reach Black families

by  /  1 December 2020

Kim Kaiser spoke with Spectrum about the nonprofit organization The Color of Autism, why researchers fail to reach Black families and what’s needed to fix that disparity.

November 2020
Illustration shows autistic teen stimming while a policeman reaches for handcuffs.
Features / Special Reports

When autism and law enforcement meet

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.

Illustration shows person talking to boy with autism sitting on the curb while parents or other community members talk to police.

Why autism training for police isn’t enough

by ,  /  26 November 2020

Inconsistent and underfunded training programs may hurt more than they help, experts say.

Young boy looking upset, sits on couch with crossed arms.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Errors of omission: Why we are deeply concerned about research on autism therapies

by , , ,  /  24 November 2020

Studies of autism treatments rarely report adverse events, and the scientists involved often fail to disclose their conflicts of interest.

Illustration shows woman in profile with her voice forming a large diverse group of people including those with disabilities.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Autistic people are coming into their own as political players

by  /  17 November 2020

With the election of Jessica Benham and others to U.S. state legislatures, autistic politicians stand poised to advocate for policy and research on priorities that matter most to them.

illustration shows isolated figure alone in the prison yard, watching other inmates exercise and socialize.
Features / Deep Dive

Autism behind bars

by  /  11 November 2020

Prisons are often ill-equipped to handle autistic inmates, who are at risk for mental health problems and abuse.

hands with a red and blue string puzzle.
Opinion / Reviews

Book Review: ‘The Pattern Seekers’ links human invention — past, present and future — to autism traits

by  /  10 November 2020

Simon Baron-Cohen’s new book is essentially a 272-page argument for his hypothesis that all human innovation stems from the ability to discern and manipulate causal patterns.