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Autism around the Globe is a project of the Nancy Lurie Marks (NLM) Family Foundation. The primary mission of the NLM Family Foundation is to help people with autism lead fulfilling and rewarding lives. The Foundation is committed to understanding autism from a scientific perspective, increasing opportunities and services available to the autism community and educating the public about autism. In pursuit of its mission, the Foundation develops and provides grants to programs in autism research, clinical care, policy, advocacy and education. Founded by Nancy Lurie Marks over 25 years ago, the NLM Family Foundation is one of the largest supporters of initiatives in these areas.

The principal goal of the scientific program is to achieve a deeper understanding of the biological basis of autism, focusing on genetics, synaptic chemistry, the neurobiology of communication, systems biology and the physiology of movement. The Foundation funds peer-reviewed research, the development of collaborative investigator projects, and research fellowship programs. Through sponsorship of scientific conferences, symposia and workshops, the Foundation seeks to encourage innovation and provide a springboard to generate new avenues of shared inquiry.

The NLM Family Foundation supports programs which focus on novel ways to improve the communication and social abilities of those with autism. Other programs are designed to increase advocacy for legal rights and access to support services for persons with autism, and to increase community understanding and openness to inclusion through education and documentary films.

The NLM Family Foundation has recently established at Massachusetts General Hospital a multi-disciplinary center in autism, the Lurie Family Autism Center (LFAC), dedicated to clinical care, cutting-edge research, advocacy and public policy analysis, as well as to providing training for a new generation of clinicians and researchers - all focused on meeting the comprehensive needs of autistic individuals from early childhood through adulthood. The Center's Director will occupy an endowed Chair at Harvard Medical School.

In pursuit of its goals the NLM Family Foundation funds projects at institutions around the world, including Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children's Hospital Boston, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, Facilitated Communication Institute at Syracuse University, Brandeis University Heller School of Social Policy and Management, and Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

The NLM Family Foundation actively seeks partnerships with other grantmakers sharing its goals and fosters collaborations between investigators and organizations that have a direct interest in developmental disabilities. Of particular interest are projects which challenge stereotypes that stand in the way of people with autism realizing their potential, such as the misconception that people with autism are invariably mentally retarded and have minimal interest in social interaction. Challenging such stereotypes will lead to a greater public understanding of autism and widen the scope of scientific inquiry.

To learn more about the NLM Family Foundation, please visit the website of NLM Family Foundation.

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