Current Research Studies

Autism – SPARK: Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge Study

Condition or Therapy:

Autism spectrum disorder



man and child

What is the goal of this study?

SPARK is a free, online study with a simple mission: to speed up research and advance the understanding of autism.

SPARK aims to be the largest study of its kind, with the goal of building a community of 50,000 individuals with autism and their families across the nation.

An important part of SPARK is the collection of DNA so it can be analyzed to expand our understanding of the role of specific genes in the development of autism.

By joining SPARK, you're helping accelerate research to find causes and targeted treatments for autism.

Register at 

    Who can join the study?

    Anyone with a professional diagnosis of autism who lives in the U.S. is invited to participate in SPARK.

    What will happen if my child takes part in this study?

    SPARK can be done either (1) independently at home or (2) with a study coordinator during a visit to the Seattle Children's Autism Center.

    To participate, your family would:

    1. Register at Registration takes 20 to 30 minutes.
    2. If your family agrees to provide saliva samples, saliva kit(s) will be shipped directly to your home with a pre-paid mailer to return these kits for DNA analysis.
    3. Our DNA analyses are looking for genetic differences related to autism. Your family could receive results from our analyses, if you decide to receive this information and a genetic cause for autism is identified in your family's samples. 

    Who can I contact for more information?

    You can register for SPARK and provide saliva samples in-person at the Seattle Children's Autism Center. Contact the study coordinator to schedule an appointment.

    Study Location(s):

    Seattle Children's Autism Center 

    Principal Investigator:

    Dr. Jennifer Gerdts