Today we simply don’t know enough about autism. SPARK—a landmark autism research project—aims to make important progress possible. SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research,’ and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.

A family walking on a beachWHY JOIN?

As autism is a spectrum, researchers need many people with autism to participate in all types of research. Until now, only a small number of individuals and families affected by autism have ever participated in research. SPARK wants to invite the entire autism community to dramatically expand its participation.

SPARK will provide researchers with medical and genetic information from tens of thousands of individuals and families affected by autism. These data will power important new research that aims to advance the understanding of autism and provide meaningful information and resources to participants.


More than 30 of the nation’s leading medical schools and autism research centers have joined SPARK to help recruit individuals and families affected by autism. These institutions are located in all regions of the United States and have been leaders in advancing the science of autism.

Working with their existing patient populations and through community outreach, the clinical sites will play a key role in SPARK recruitment.
Learn more…

A photo of a woman using a cell phoneSOCIAL MEDIA TOOLKIT

Join SPARK’s 5th-anniversary celebration by helping us get the word out about our research study. Share images and messages on social media. Pass around our 5th anniversary video. And include SPARK in your next newsletter.  Thanks for helping us build awareness, trust, and community participation! Learn more…


The SPARK Community Advisory Council (CAC) ensures that the voice of our community is reflected in our work. We currently have 60 members from across the country with autistic adults, parents, and professionals who work in the autism community represented. Learn more…


SPARK has partnered with national and local autism community organizations across the U.S. to help find research participants and spread the word about this landmark study.

Most of these organizations traditionally have focused on providing services, advocacy, resources and networking opportunities, rather than the science of autism. With SPARK, more members of the autism community can now learn and be a part of autism research. Learn more…

Photo of a SPARK dad and his son.MEET OUR PARTICIPANTS

People from all over the country are joining SPARK, and they want to share their stories. From anecdotes about registering for SPARK to accounts of how families dealt with diagnoses, SPARK community members are sharing their experiences with one another.

You can read those testimonials and see photos of some of our SPARK participants in this section. If you’d like to contribute your own story, email us at info@SPARKforAutism.org . Learn more…