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March 2018                                                                                                                           
The Aspire Wire
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Autism: Moving from Awareness to Acceptance  
By Andrew E. Harris, MEd  
In the lead up to April each year, a lot of discussion arises around Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Awareness Day. There has been a growing chorus of voices within the autistic community calling for an end to this era of awareness and beginning a new chapter focused on acceptance of those on the spectrum. We take a closer look at the differences between awareness and acceptance and their potential impact on the community. 
Reel Abilities Film Festival 3/21 - 3/29
Aspire is pleased to be co-presenting the closing night of the Reel Abilities Film Festival on Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 7pm at Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA. The film "Off the Rails", about a young man on the spectrum with a strong interest in trains, will be screened. Discussion to follow. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here
Research Opportunities
Lurie Center for Autism
The Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children is looking for participants for their currently enrolling studies. For additional information about study requirements and study procedures, please contact Dr. Christopher McDougle's or  Dr. Ann Neumeyer's  study staff at 781-860-1711 or

Have a look at the research opportunities we currently have available: 
  • Investigation of Neuroinflammation in Autism Seeking men and women aged 18-40 years with and without autism to participate in an investigation of the structure and function of the brain of adults with and without autism using MR-PET scans. Participants are compensated for their time.
  • Sidekicks - Enrolling children ages 6 to 11 years 6 months diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This study will determine the success rate of Affinities Therapy, a therapy model using the Sidekicks mobile application for children with ASD. 
To learn more, please   visit   our website .  
The Bressler Clinical and Research Center
  • ASD Namenda Study Taking Place at MGHThis 12-week study seeks to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Namenda (memantine) for the treatment of core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children and adolescents. Deficits in social interaction are the central feature of ASD and often result in significant impairment for individuals with High Functioning-ASD. Available data from past treatment studies of Namenda demonstrates improvements in a range of impairments including attentional and social skills in individuals with ASD. Eligible subjects, children ages 8-17 with a DSM-V diagnosis of ASD, will be enrolled to receive either placebo or Namenda. Subjects also complete a pre and post-treatment brain scan before and after treatment with Namenda. 
For more info, contact Abigail Belser: 617-724-7079 |
  • Road Ahead Study at Boston University - Seeking parents or legal guardians and high school students with autism who are in their last year of high school and who will graduate with a regular high school diploma. Aiming to assess post-education outcomes, parents will complete online and mailed surveys and a brief phone interview at two time points separated by 18 months. Youth will complete separate online and mailed surveys. Participation should take 30-60 minutes at each time point. The surveys can be completed from home at a time convenient for you. Parents will receive a $25 gift card and youth will receive a $15 gift card at each time point.This research is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
For more information please contact or (617) 353-2060.

About Aspire


MGH Aspire offers fall, spring and summer programs to help children, teens and adults with high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or a related social profile make social connections and develop independence leading to more successful and fulfilling lives.

MGH Aspire  
1 Maguire Road
Lexington, MA 02421 
f: 781-860-1920  

For more information about how your donation will make a difference at Aspire: 

Internship Program

The Internship program provides on-going job support throughout the duration of the program. Interns are carefully matched with companies like:
  • Boston Public Market
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Safelite 
  • WGBH 

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