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Welcome to SPARK at UNC
Join the UNC SPARK team!

What is SPARK?

  • A landmark research partnership between the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), UNC and 31 other clinical and research institutions across the US
  • A free, online study whose goal is to speed up autism research and learn more about the causes and treatments of autism. An on-line community of people with autism and their family members.
  • Families are asked to share basic information about medical and family history and can choose to submit saliva sample (saliva kits mailed to home)

How to get involved in SPARK at UNC

  • Read more and register at www.sparkforautism.org/UNC
  • Consent to share information about yourself and/or your child with autism and agree to be re-contacted for future studies (no obligation to participate)
  • Share family history, behavioral and medical information
  • Consent to provide a saliva sample and request the saliva collection kit (kits mailed to you with prepaid mailer)
  • Complete online surveys

Who can participate in SPARK?

  • Children and adults with a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
  • Biological parents and full siblings of the individual with autism spectrum disorder

UNC SPARK Webinar

At Home with SPARK

The largest autism study in the country

Available now: a recording of the 20-minute presentation and a Q&A session with attendees.

The UNC SPARK Team’s webinar answers these questions and more: What is SPARK for Autism? How is SPARK advancing autism research? What is involved in participating? What are the benefits of participating? Is it COVID-proof (safe, easy, and done from home)?

View Webinar Recording
View Webinar slides and transcript

What families are saying about SPARK

“It was easy to do and we enjoyed standing around the kitchen, our whole family spitting into the tubes! Just knowing that we could be a part of something bigger to help others is important to us.”

“Knowing the origins of autism might help develop better treatments and supports, which would improve the daily lives of people with autism. Also, if SPARK helps us demonstrate that autism has genetic origins, that is one step along the way to true autism acceptance.”

“There is a lot of conflicting information about what causes autism and how best to treat it. We feel we owe it to our son as well as to the many other families who have children with autism to find real answers through the best scientific research available."

Bringing Together
Families & Researchers

For Information about SPARK,
please contact


The UNC SPARK Team:

Laina Townsend
919-966-6795
Bree Davis
919-966-6796
SparkForAutism@unc.edu

Thank you for your interest in research at UNC.



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