BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It will be the largest genetic study of autism in history — and some of it will be done in Baltimore.
Researchers will be studying the developmental disorder at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
“The goal is really to answer the why of autism… And that’s important because that allows us to understand what treatments might be most beneficial to a particular individual so we can tailor the interventions,” said Ericka Wodka, a neuropsychologist at Kennedy Krieger.
Kennedy Krieger is one of 23 sites across the country involved in the Spark study.
Gil and Gina Brown of Baltimore have volunteered to be part of the study.
Their six-year-old son Dale has autism.
“Anything that we could do to make a small contribution to the effort,” said Gil Brown. “I think it’s definitely worth a try.”
Dale was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum shortly before he was two years old.
“One therapist summed it up in one way — they said this is going to be a journey,” said Gina Brown, “and it has been quite a journey.”
Researchers are looking for 50,000 families to participate in the important study. So far about 15,000 families have signed up.
“It just allows us to better specialize the treatment and the medical care for an individual with autism,” Wodka said.
If you’d like information on how you can participate in the spark study just log on to Spark’s website.