No, I’m not asking “when should I be concerned about the Strategic Plan”. Instead, I am taking parts of the Plan and posting them here. The full Plan is 34 pages long. Don’t let that slow you down! It really isn’t that long, and I found it a good read. But, it is hard to discuss the whole thing as a blog post.
Another point I see–there are six sections. It may be tough to sit down at one time and write a response to all six. If you think that may keep you from commenting, follow these posts and comment as you go. It sounds like they would prefer you to write one single email, but I am all for anything that gives them more feedback–especially feedback that encourages using a strong scientific approach to selecting research projects.
With apologies to the people who wrote the Strategic Plan, I am going to only post the sections on “Research Opportunities” and “Short Term Objectives” and “Long Term Objectives”. Read them and ask, “Is this how I want research dollars and research time spent?”. If so, send them email and show support for the parts you like. If not, email them and let them know your concerns.
With that intro, for the section, “When Should I be Concerned”, we have:
• ASD screening instruments and approaches for use in community settings to identify individuals who require diagnostic evaluation.
• Sensitive and efficient clinical diagnostic tools for diagnosing ASD in widely diverse populations, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, females, younger and older age groups.
• ASD measures that are easy to administer and that are sensitive to incremental changes in both core and associated ASD symptoms. Such measures can be used to help track the clinical course of individuals with ASD, monitor responses to interventions, and provide information about the broader autism phenotype.
• Detailed criteria for specific ASD sub-types in order to better describe the variations in symptoms and severity and study how these variations relate to underlying pathology, intervention strategies, and outcomes.
• ASD subpopulations and associated biobehavioral markers that provide early indication of ASD risk and opportunities for early intervention.
• Protocols for genetic testing in routine clinical practice in order to identify individuals at risk for ASD. Identification of individuals with genetic variations associated with ASD will facilitate intensive studies of ASD subpopulations with shared genetic risk factors to characterize common phenotypic and biological features.
• Develop, with existing tools, at least one efficient diagnostic instrument (e.g., briefer, less time intensive) that is valid in diverse populations for use in large-scale studies by 2011.
• Validate and improve the sensitivity and specificity of existing screening tools for detecting ASD through studies of the following community populations that are diverse in terms of age, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity and level of functioning by 2012.
o School aged children
o General population (vs. clinical population)
• Validate a panel of biomarkers that separately, or in combination with behavioral measures, accurately identify, before age 2, one or more subtypes of children at risk for developing ASD by 2014.
• Develop five measures of behavioral and/or biological heterogeneity in children or adults with ASD, beyond variation in intellectual disability, that clearly relate to etiology and risk, treatment response and/or outcome by 2015.
• Identify and develop measures to assess at least three continuous dimensions of ASD symptoms and severity that can be used to assess response to intervention for individuals with ASD across the lifespan by 2016.
• Effectively disseminate at least one valid and efficient diagnostic instrument (e.g., briefer, less time intensive) in general clinical practice by 2016
Again, ask yourself, “Is this how I want research dollars and research time spent?”. If so, send them email and show support for the parts you like. If not, email them and let them know your concerns.