Do you want to SPARK a better understanding of autism?

Together, we can help spark a better future for all individuals and families affected by autism.


If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism, UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence invites you to learn more about SPARK, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. The mission of SPARK is clear: speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study. Joining SPARK is simple – register online and provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of your own home.

Register by contacting us at 858-534-6906, or visit

Together, we can help spark a better future for all individuals
and families affected by autism.SPARK -UCSD - Facebook Image 1 (1)

About SPARK:

  • SPARK is a landmark national autism research study designed to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve
  • Autism is known to have a strong genetic While we know that genetic factors contribute to autism, there is still so much we don’t know.
  • SPARK will collect unique information from thousands of individuals affected by autism to give researchers the information they need to improve treatment and achieve scientific advances as rapidly as More participants in SPARK means more good data for researchers.
  • SPARK aims to recruit 50,000 individuals with autism and, when possible, their biological Participants will provide basic medical information about themselves and a DNA sample and will agree to be contacted for additional research studies.
  • Participation in SPARK can be done entirely at home—registration can be completed online and the DNA sample can be provided using a saliva collection kit mailed to the There is no cost to participate, and upon completion of the registration process, the individual with autism will receive a $50 gift card.
  • Individuals of all ages with a professional diagnosis of autism, together with their family members, can participate if they live in the United States and can read and understand English in order to complete consent forms and online questionnaires.
  • Participants will agree to be recontacted about taking part in other research projects but are not required to join additional
  • Privacy is a top Information submitted as part of SPARK will be immediately scrubbed of the person’s identity, which will be replaced with a code, to provide the most security possible.

SPARK is sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.
SPARK: Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge

For more information or to join, visit or contact

How an Autism Service Dog Unites the Whole Family Unit

Bringing families together and reconnecting them with the community.

1915661_10205869140716289_9154806450189513766_n.jpgPart of the amazing work TLCAD does is bringing  families together and reconnecting them with the community. About two years ago, TLCAD placed Solar an autism service dog with Sadie who has a mitochondrial disorder and autism. Solar has enabled Sadie the independence her mother had always hoped for. Most recently as a family the Smith’s went to the San Diego Museum of Art, where they were able to enjoy the entire day without any meltdowns or anxiety.

“The kids, and I had such a great time yesterday at the art museum‬. While Bro needed me to do the math on how old exactly every single piece of art was, Solar would just sit next to Sadie while she concentrated on on the pieces she was into. She would dig her hands into his fluffy fur and hug him when the echoey rooms got a little loud. She must have dropped her map or drawings like 20 times and he would just pick them up for her. She giggled when her items were returned slightly slobbered. Zero meltdowns. It was the most chill outing we’ve had in a long time.”

– Nicki Smith mother of Leash-On-Life recipient Sadie Smith and her autism service dog‬ Solar