Launched in 2005, the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is a research campaign within the Simons Foundation's overall suite of programs. SFARI's mission is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance.
Although SFARI's priority is to benefit individuals challenged by these disorders, its efforts are certain to yield insights into the neural mechanisms of fundamental human capabilities, thereby promoting the broader mission of the Simons Foundation to advance the frontiers of research in the basic sciences and mathematics.
Autism spectrum disorders are a set of complex developmental disorders characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction, as well as restricted behaviors, interests or activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 1 in 88 children in the U.S. have autism, with many more boys affected than girls. These disorders cost the U.S. economy an estimated $35 billion dollars each year in direct care costs and lost productivity, and extract an incalculable human toll.