The SPARK study will help us better understand the genetic links to and causes of autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known to have a strong genetic component. By studying genes and their links to ASD, we can better understand the causes of autism and link them to symptoms, skills, and challenges for those who live with ASD. SPARK—which stands for Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge—aims to speed up autism research by inviting participation from a large, diverse community, with the goal of including individuals of all ages, sexes, races, and socioeconomic situations with a professional diagnosis of ASD.

Who can participate?

You and/or your child may be eligible to participate if:

  • You have a professional diagnosis of ASD, or
  • You are a biological parent or legal guardian of a child who has a professional diagnosis of ASD, or
  • You have a sibling with a professional diagnosis of ASD

What will I be asked to do?

Please complete registration online at or in person at Marcus Autism Center.

  • Registration typically takes about 15-20 minutes.
  • You will be asked to sign consent and share behavioral/medical information about yourself or your child with an ASD diagnosis.

You will be asked to provide saliva samples for all family members who register online.

  • Saliva collection can be done on-site immediately after registration.
  • Alternatively, kits will be sent to your home two to three weeks after registration.

What are the benefits of participating?

By participating in SPARK, your family will play an important role in advancing research in the field of autism genetics. You will be compensated for your effort and you may receive results back from the genetic testing, which you can discuss with a clinician.

Principal investigator:
Dr. Cheryl Klaiman

Sign up now
Please contact Laura Coleman at 404-785-9467 or by email at for more information on the SPARK study.