The mission of the Eagles Autism Foundation is to support the highest quality and most impactful autism research and care to improve the lives of affected individuals and families now, as well as foster the acquisition of knowledge, technologies, and discoveries that will bring new opportunities in the future. While we remain steadfast in our commitment to fund the most innovative research, we also recognize the immediate need to serve individuals through the community grant program. Stay tuned for updates regarding our 2023 funding process.
Our Impact 2022
2022 Scientific Review Process
Dr. Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Chair of the NIH Developmental Brain Disorders study section, member of the Society for Neuroscience Audit Committee, serves on Autism Science Foundation and the American Brain Coalition panels
Dr. Craig Erickson
Cincinatti Children’s Hospital
Dr. Susan Hyman
University of Rochester Medical Center
Dr. Suzannah Iadarola
University of Rochester Medical Center
Dr. Kenneth Kwan
University of Michigan
Dr. Matthew Maenner
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Eric Morrow
Dr. Tomasz Nowakowski
University of California San Francisco
Dr. Damon Page
The Scripps Research Institute
Dr. Celine Saulnier
Neurodevelopmental Assessment and Consulting
Dr. Zachary Warren
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Director, Division of Developmental Medicine, Vanderbilt Department of Pediatrics; Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Special Education; Executive Director, VKC TRIAD
Dr. Benjamin Yerys
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Associate Professor; Psychiatry, Psychologist; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Director; Data and Statistical Core, Center for Autism Research, Director; Transition to Adulthood, Director; Clinical Translational Core, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
University of Alberta, Canada
2022 Pilot Studies
Hakon Hakonarson – Unveiling the Molecular Pathways and Mechanisms of ADGRB3 in Autism in search for Future Innovative Precision-Based Therapies
Dong Li – Getting to the splicing core of syndromic autism
Veronique Lefebvre – SOX5-related autism spectrum disorder
April Levin – Signal vs. Noise: Objective Measurements of Sensory Processing in Autism
Haitham Amal – The role of nitric oxide in the pathology of autism spectrum disorder caused by the SHANK3 and MEF2C mutations
Antoine Louveau – Restoring lymphatic function to improve social behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Ben Philpot – Investigation of UBE3A/HERC2 Synergy as a Driver of Dup15q Syndrome Pathogenesis
Clare Harrop –Using Multimodal Assessment to Examine Developmental Profiles and Sex Differences in the Eating Behaviors of Autistic Children
Stefan Strack – Primary PKA dysregulation in Marbach-Schaaf Neurodevelopmental Syndrome
Post Doctoral Fellowships
Dana Layo-Carris – Elucidating neural mechanisms resulting in autism-like syndrome
Megan Bragg – Prenatal cardiometabolic health practices and child autism-related outcomes
Community Grant Acceptances 2022
Led by Melanie Pellecchia, PhD at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the two-year study concluded that children with autism made progress after participating in Project ImPACT, previously funded by Eagles Autism Foundation. In response, the Philadelphia Early Intervention program implemented this unique coaching program for children diagnosed with autism, or on the spectrum. Early Intervention providers such as KenCrest were able to capitalize on this data and to join Project ImPACT in training therapists to expand reach to as many young children and families as possible. KenCrest and Project ImPACT have the potential to dramatically improve the services received by families of young children with ASD in Philadelphia, and to significantly improve their long-term outcomes.
The Kinney Center
The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support will offer an 8-week-long program twice a year to educate caregivers of newly diagnosed children with autism (up to 7 y.o.) or caregivers suspecting autism but without an official diagnosis, and help identify resources to support their child. The program will offer a support group and training on such topics as communication with autistic children, best activities, types of predictable routines providing most support and how to incorporate them and other necessary accommodations to allow neurotypical members of the family to function. We envision caregivers attending with their children; while adults are getting training from a clinical staff member, the children will be entertained and educated by Kinney students, trained in working with children on the spectrum. To incentivize and facilitate attendance, we will offer a simple dinner to participants. For children, the meal will allow for naturalistic modeling and teaching from trained staff members to assist in healthy engagement.
Salus’ Speech Language Institute/SLI provides a variety of therapeutic services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder/ASD, focused on increasing communication skills, independence, and quality of life. Services include family-focused assessments, treatment, external service coordination, and education on adaptive technology. Skills involve attention and listening; play; understanding language and using expressive communication; social interaction; and non-verbal communication. Services are free and attract many underserved families from nearby Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. Improving Communication for the ASD Community requires additional communication devices, software, and supplies to serve a growing target population. The SLI model relies on graduate student clinicians supervised by a full-time certified, licensed Speech Language Pathologist, constant Quality Improvement processes, and community input through surveys and meetings with client/families and community collaborators.
Special Olympics PA
Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) and the Cities of Inclusion project is focused on taking a comprehensive citywide approach in our goal to ensure Philadelphia is a city where people with disabilities can lead healthy and fulfilling lives as respected members of an inclusive society. The focus areas we selected, education, employment, health, housing, and access to information & services, encompass our approach towards making Philadelphia a City of Inclusion.
The Arc Alliance Advocacy Services
Independence shouldn’t be a privilege reserved only for those who can afford it. Unfortunately, for many individuals with autism, the cost of independence is simply unaffordable. There are significant funds available for services and tools for people with autism. The qualifier for funding is a one-time, Occupational Therapy (OT) Assessment that costs $500 on average. This out-of-pocket fee is required to determine eligibility for funding programs but is not a covered expense. For those with financial hardships it is a major obstacle to critical services. Unlocking Independence will eliminate the barrier to funding for individuals with autism and allow them to successfully participate in their community.
The Variety Club
VarietyWorks serves young adults ages 14+ who present with autism & intellectual disabilities as they train to ultimately obtain meaningful employment of their choice. Our Theory of Change states that when young adults with disabilities have access to choices and engage in individualized instruction and employment experiences, they will become self-confident, independent, and better prepared for life. This individualized, unique program is based on our 77-acre campus, and serves individuals from the entire Delaware Valley. Funding would support enhancement of VarietyWorks, whose services are financially sustainable, but not resourced for expansion and enhancement. We seek to launch a second community mobile café, expand summer vocational program, and expand employer partnerships. Variety is an Eagles Care partner for 5 years, and one of the oldest nonprofits in the region serving this population.
Evidence-Based Practice Innovation Center (Philadelphia Community Behavioral Health) –
The Evidence-based Practice Innovation Center is part of Philadelphia’s Community Behavioral Health, which was previously known as the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services. Ultimately, they work with the large network of Medicaid providers within the City of Philadelphia. Part of the funding will be used towards sensory room and structural updates in order to best support the therapy taking place at the institution. In addition, part of the funding will go towards LENA technology which produces robus and statistically valid dataset of speech, including English and Spanish.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia-Center for Autism
Funding provided directly from Huddle Up for Autism event, “The Center for Autism Research (CAR) coordinates and supports research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). CAR’s goals are to identify the underlying causes of ASD in order to develop effective treatments, and support individuals with ASD and their families by providing evidence-based resources and education.”
Popcorn For The People
Popcorn for the people has a vision of Let’s Work For Good in order to create a world where any adult interested in working can find a career they enjoy; earn fair, competitive wages; and maximize their independence. They envision a society where businesses appreciate all abilities, value a neurodiverse workforce and provide necessary supports. With the Eagles Autism Foundation grant, more employment opportunities will be created for the neurodiverse population.