In the past year, groundbreaking research has uncovered precise genetic links between autism and Fragile X syndrome, giving families like ours hope that treatment for many of the core symptoms of both conditions is on the horizon. New drugs currently in clinical trials have been shown to have a significant effect on reducing the symptoms of severe social impairment in people with autism or Fragile X syndrome. Reducing repetitive behaviors and improving social skills would allow our family members to lead more independent lives.

While most people know about autism and autism spectrum disorders, not as many are aware of Fragile X syndrome. Fragile X is closely related to autism, is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disabilities and is the most common genetic cause of autism.

It is imperative that the advancements made through these groundbreaking research projects continue to be built upon. Wise stewardship of federal research dollars would encourage continued investment and expand the scope of research into the links between Fragile X and autism.

The promise of this research gives hope to many of us in Utah who have family members with autism and Fragile X syndrome that independence and social acceptance are within reach in our lifetime.

Tiffany Douglas