ATLANTA (April 25, 2019) – Marcus Autism Center has received a grant of $25 million from The Marcus Foundation to support autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and the expansion of our Feeding Program to reach more patients at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Center for Advanced Pediatrics.
Specifically, research funds will support an ongoing multi-site national clinical trial led by Marcus Autism Center to determine whether an investigational device that uses eye-tracking technology can safely and effectively match expert clinicians in assessing presence of autism spectrum disorder. This research aims to diagnose and treat children with autism at an earlier age, giving them more opportunity to thrive.
While the majority of the grant is earmarked for research, The Marcus Foundation has also allocated funds to continue expanding the feeding program at Marcus Autism Center. Children with autism are five times more likely to have feeding problems than other children, with 46 percent of children on the spectrum experiencing moderate to severe feeding disorders. These disorders can isolate families, forcing them to completely change their meal routines and restricting socialization with the community. Mild forms of feeding disorders result in frequent tantrums associated with food refusal behaviors, while the most severe forms can require hospitalization for placement of a feeding tube.
To reach more families in need, Marcus Autism Center recently expanded the Feeding Program into the Center for Advanced Pediatrics, which opened in July 2018. The Marcus Foundation funds will ensure that the expertise and resources offered by the program reach not only children with autism, but also typically developing children with feeding disorders resulting from prematurity or other medical conditions.
“Marcus Autism Center has seen great successes that would not be possible without the generosity of Bernie Marcus and The Marcus Foundation over the years,” says Dr. Ami Klin, Director of Marcus Autism Center. “Their renewed contribution to supporting our cutting-edge autism research shows great confidence in the work we’re doing. Our center looks forward to making new discoveries that will positively impact the lives of children and their families.”
Marcus Autism Center is grateful to be a beneficiary of The Marcus Foundation’s generosity and looks forward to continuing their impactful relationship.
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About Marcus Autism Center
Marcus Autism Center is a not-for-profit organization and an affiliate of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta that treats more than 5,500 children with autism and related disorders a year. As one of the largest autism centers in the U.S. and one of only three National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence, Marcus Autism Center offers families access to the latest research, comprehensive evaluations and intensive behavior treatments. With the help of research grants, community support and government funding, Marcus Autism Center aims to maximize the potential of children with autism today and transform the very nature of autism for future generations.