The Simons Foundation just keeps giving to fund autism research. They have just given $25 million to the university in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Big donations are not rare in the US; the CEO of Broadcom recently gave $20 million to fund autism research at MIT.
The United Kingdom has very highly rated medical research, but not when it comes to autism. The US is by far the dominant centre for the study of autism and I expect China to become the clear, if distant, number two.
I liked the quote that was attributed to Mr Simons, even if it was written by the PR department:-
"We are confident that the great scientists already in place, coupled with the comprehensive facility being developed, will accelerate understanding of autism and hasten the development of meaningful treatments."
How would you know a Meaningful Treatment if you stumbled upon one?
It does help if you know what you are looking for.
To the general public a Meaningful Treatment is seen automatically as a “cure”.
This then implies you just need one and you are “fixed”.
For most people with autism, Meaningful Treatments will be just incremental steps towards a better life. Cognitive function will be key in severe autism, but irrelevant to many with Asperger’s.
Controlling tics might be life changing for some, for others the key might be halting aggression and self-injury.
In the new mild autism the issues are more subtle and varied, but when things go wrong the result can be more dramatic than in severe autism. This is the group that sometimes does not want treatment.
I hope Mr Simons knows what he is looking for. He has given so much money.
There are many Meaningful Treatments mentioned in this blog, but for the great majority there are no cures.
If in severe autism you can raise IQ by 30 points, I think that is terrific, to use a Trumpism, but you will still be autistic and still be more autistic than a totally untreated person with Asperger’s. So to most observers, not much of a recovery at all.