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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Global Autism Public Health Initiative

Transforming lives at home and abroad

Autism Speaks is committed to helping meet the needs of children and adults affected by autism in underserved communities at home and abroad. Through our Global Autism Public Health Initiative (GAPH), we collaborate with families, professionals, advocacy groups and governments in more than 70 countries, with the shared goals of better understanding the global issues surrounding autism and enabling the practical and effective delivery of care.

GAPH initiatives include:

Innovation in service delivery

In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), we help develop urgently needed resources for families and care providers in low-resource areas.

Epidemiology research

Autism Speaks works closely with partners, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to investigate and measure autism prevalence in diverse populations.

Guiding policy and research priorities

We are giving the autism community a voice in health policies and federal research priorities through our collaboration with government agencies and organizations that include the National Academy of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC.

The support of the global autism community makes this vital work possible.

Developing global solutions

More than 85 percent of the world’s autism community lives in low- and middle-income countries, where many face extreme stigma and few have access to autism services and support. Working with the United Nations (UN) and WHO, we help nations create self-sustaining public health programs and research networks to address autism.

As facilitators, technical advisors and co-funders, we strive to:

* Engage local families and community stakeholders

* Amplify our partners’ investments in autism programs

* Support the delivery of sustainable and effective services

* Launch research that is more practical to perform abroad


GAPH’s collaborative programs include:

Parent Skills Training

An affordable and culturally adaptable training program developed in collaboration with the WHO to foster the development and social skills of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Learn more about the Autism Speaks/WHO Parent Skills Training program here.

Autism Researchers without Borders

An international partnership of highly skilled volunteers, including clinicians, researchers and graduate students providing technical expertise and other crucial services around the world. Learn more about the program here.

Practical and affordable screening and diagnostic tools

Through GAPH, Autism Speaks is supporting the development of scientifically validated and royalty-free autism screening and diagnostic methods. These tools are desperately needed in resource-poor regions of the world, where the screening and diagnostic methods used in highly developed nations prove impractical and unaffordable. These new, cutting-edge tools include mobile-health technology that can extend services to rural and other underserved regions. They are also equipped to deliver web-based information that can advance autism research at home as well as abroad.

System of Care Tool Kit

In collaboration with our international partners, we are developing a guidebook to share best-practice methods and programs that can enable nations and regions to develop and improve autism services and public health policies in low-resource regions.

Empowering World Leaders

Autism Speaks works with dedicated partners worldwide to advance their work through a combination of technical expertise, diplomatic connections and modest funding. Our global partners include:

The United Nations

UN missions from every continent have joined us in making autism a global priority by adopting groundbreaking resolutions.

The World Health Organization

The WHO has worked closely with Autism Speaks to commit national health ministries to implement evidence-based, culturally appropriate autism services for underserved communities.

The Advocacy Leadership Network

Hosted by Autism Speaks, the annual meeting of our Advocacy Leadership Network brings together autism advocacy organizations and government health ministries from over 40 countries to discuss research and advance UN and WHO resolutions on autism services and human rights. 

World Focus on Autism

Since 2008, this powerful network of First Spouses and other dignitaries has fostered the adoption of GAPH programs worldwide.

GAPH regional networks

Serving as a technical adviser and supporter, Autism Speaks helps create regional awareness, training and program networks throughout the world. These include: 

Southeast Europe Autism Network, with representatives from the ministries of health and family/stakeholder groups in nine countries;


Red Espectro Autista Latinoamérica, a collaboration between researchers and service providers in six countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean.

GAPH at home

Through GAPH, Autism Speaks plays a major role in guiding public health research and policies in the United States to ensure that they meet the needs of our large and growing autism community. This includes work with:   

The CDC, to design and support research that improves detection of autism and produces more-accurate estimates of its prevalence across the nation;

The National Academy of Medicine, to identify and address gaps in programs and policies affecting children and adults with disabilities involving complex health and education needs;

The Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health, to build the Autism Pathways Data Portal, which enables parents, researchers and the general public to access a wealth of information on autism services and family experiences.

Minority, immigrant, rural and other underserved communities to improve access to effective and appropriate autism services.

Through GAPH, Autism Speaks is transforming tens of millions of lives.
Please join us in the crucial work.