Our lab's mission is to create knowledge about and advance our understanding of autism through research that brings value to families.

Research Background

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social-communication skills, as well as the presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors or interests. Symptoms usually present during the first two years of life, and although children can be reliably diagnosed as young as 18 months, the average age of diagnosis in the United States currently is four years. Most scientists believe that ASD is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While advances in technology allow for continuous improvements in genetic-testing capabilities, a genetic explanation is currently identified in fewer than 25 percent of affected individuals. Researchers today continue to investigate etiological factors, biological markers for early detection, and the most effective treatment approaches. The participation of families is critical to our being able to answer important questions about ASD and facilitate the best outcomes for all affected individuals.

Autism Research Opportunities

At Baylor and Texas Children’s, research is an important part of clinical care and an essential part of our overall mission.

SPARK For Autism

SPARK and TCH logos for social media (320x240)
SPARK for Autism

If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism, Texas Children's Hospital (in affiliation with Baylor College of Medicine) invites you to learn more about SPARK for Autism, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

The mission of SPARK is clear: Speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study. With families and researchers working together, we can help spark a better future for all individuals and families affected by autism.