The Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN),, with the launch of its research initiative for adults and the unveiling of a more user-friendly, easily navigated online community. Launched in April 2007 as the first national autism registry, the IAN Project has become the largest pool of autism data in the world, with registration expected to reach 30,000 individuals during Autism Awareness Month, the organization says.

Having already uncovered new insights and aided hundreds of research studies about children with autism, the IAN Project is now enrolling adults with autism in hopes of using the same proven research model to address the many unanswered questions about this underserved population. Adults with autism can have their voices heard through the IAN Project, to help researchers gain a clearer picture of how they are living. Adult participation meets a significant unmet need–while the number of adults living with autism grows every day, little is known about them. There hasn’t been a comprehensive, national effort to find out what services adults with autism are in need of, or to document the ways they contribute to society, and— there is no official estimate of how many adults with autism are living in the United States today.

The IAN Project is also unveiling a new look for its online community; its model of information exchange and community interaction has facilitated a wide-ranging collection of evidence-based information on autism available for parents on the Web. The new design allows users to more easily navigate through the site, and highlights the depth of resources available to the autism community. From the community homepage, users can quickly see the most recent research articles written by prominent autism experts, the latest autism news, and what discussions are  taking place in the community forums.

The Institute serves more than 13,000 people annually through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services, and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop, while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis.

[Source: Newswise]