I heard about SPARK through a friend and chose to participate with my family because I am very interested in finding actionable information about autism. Too little is known about the causes of autism. Understanding the genetics behind autism can lead to treatments and therefore better lives for my son and others living with autism.
The whole process was easy and quick. My son and our family have participated in numerous research studies, but they have all been much more difficult (hours for testing, blood work, etc.).
I thought it might be difficult to keep my son from eating or drinking before the saliva collection. I was also concerned that he could not spit into the container when asked. As the time for the collection drew near, my two boys (one son with autism, the other without) and I got into the car, blasted some great music and took a scenic drive. This bought us some food/drink-free time while making it fun.
Upon returning home, we made a game of it. I was really surprised how fast and easy it was to get the sample. From start to finish, the process was simple and quick. We are thrilled to participate in such an important project. I am hopeful that everyone will participate in this study. Making more information available will lead to better research that can make a real impact.
Steven Kattouf, age 16
I participated in SPARK to help my brother and kids with autism everywhere. I am interested in research that will lead to better treatments for autism. I believe everybody should participate in this. It only takes a few seconds, and it is for a great cause. A few seconds of time can be a huge help for people with autism.