First Round of  COVID-19 Pivot Grant Recipients Announced

The recipients of our first round of COVID-19 Pivot Grants are Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum of the University of Alberta and Dr. Sandra B. Vanegas of Texas State University.

Announced in April , the COVID-19 Pivot Grants are meant to help scientists cover new costs encountered due to adaptations or modifications of an original research plan as a result of the current shutdown across research institutions. They are intended to be a fast-turnaround mechanism to accommodate an unprecedented and unpredictable situation for the research community.

Dr. Zwaigenbaum's work involves longitudinal studies that track the same children from birth through adolescence. His studies have revolutionized understanding of early detection and intervention delivery and have improved long-term outcomes for children with autism. Due to the pandemic, Dr. Zwaigenbaum was forced to adapt certain assessments to accommodate social distancing protocols. The Pivot Grant will allow for the continued collection of data from a cohort of children who have long been involved with the project and will also provide additional funding to families to compensate them for their increased effort.

Dr. Vanegas' work focuses on the unique needs of culturally diverse families in low-resource households, an area that has historically been overlooked in autism research. Dr. Vanegas works on the ASD Screening and Parent ENgagement (ASPEN) intervention program, which was developed to help parents develop skills to address challenges in communication, socialization and difficult behavior. Due to social distancing measures and closure of access centers for families, this intervention must now be delivered remotely. The Pivot Grant will provide equipment and technology to disadvantaged families to ensure continued participation. It will also enable researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of this telehealth intervention.
To read more about the grant recipients and their projects, click here.

Missed the First Round of Pivot Grants?
Applications for Second Round Now Open 
We are ready and eager to provide additional COVID-19 Pivot Grants.  
This tranche will be targeted at early career investigators (scientists currently pursuing a doctoral degree to those up to seven years post-doctorate). Interested scientists must submit a proposal including a cover page, a summary of how the grant will be used, a list of references and the project's original grant proposal and budget.  
The application period begins today, June 3rd, and will close on July 15th. For additional information and to access the RFA, click here.
Real Talk with the Sibs

Siblings of individuals with autism may need a little extra support during the COVID-19 crisis, so ASF has teamed up with Els for Autism to bring you a new webinar series, Sam's Sibs Stick Together.

Hosted by autism sibling Samantha Els, the program will discuss findings from research focused on siblings and will share resources for siblings of all ages. 
We invite siblings, parents, and other caregivers to participate in this series, which will be held the 2nd Tuesday each month at 2pm EST.

The next webinar on June 9th will feature a panel of young adult  siblings discussing what they wish their younger selves knew.

To register for free, click here.
INSAR 2020 Virtual Opens Today with Keynotes 
INSAR 2020 is launching today, June 3rd at 9am EST. This free, virtual event will include webinars and speaker Q&A.
Speakers today include Dr. Joshua Gordon, Director of NIMH; Dr. Lamya Shihabuddin, Head of the Neurogenetic, Neuroinflammatory and Repair Research Cluster, Sanofi; Dr. Emily Simonoff, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London and Sven Bölte, Ph.D., Professor of child and adolescent psychiatric science at the Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute.  
All INSAR 2020 abstracts will be available online starting today.
For additional information and to register for free, click here. If you are not currently an INSAR member, you will first need to create an INSAR profile to complete your free registration.