News and Events


Landmark Autism Genetic Study: Seeking Participants

Families affected by autism can partner with the AARTS Center at Rush to participate in a landmark national research study designed to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives. Data, through an online registration portal and genetic information through a saliva sample will be gathered on-site with support from the SPARK team. All ages are welcome! 

When: September 28, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Olson Auditorium and Grainger Atrium of Advocate Children's Hospital, 1775 Dempster St., Park Ridge, Illinois 60532

Participants with autism will receive up to $50 in Amazon gift card for their participation.

To RSVP to this event, fill out this form.


FOX 32. "Smart Glasses' Could Diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder Earlier." Rush University Medical Center is hoping new technology will not only make therapy better but also allow them to diagnose children earlier than ever before.  Eye tracking technology allows the clinician to focus on subtle skills such as eye gaze, language, and gestures so they can study the patients. Sylvia Perez interviews Latha Soorya and Allie Wainer of the AARTS Center. View video

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NPR. 'Social Camouflage' May Lead to Underdiagnosis of Autism in Girls. Girls are much less likely to be diagnosed with autism, but that may be because the signs of the disorder can be less obvious than in boys. And girls may be missing out on help as a result. Louis Kraus, MD, director of the AARTS Center and chief of child psychiatry at Rush, who speicalizes in autism explains that because the symptoms of autism are often less obvious in girls than they are in boys. Girls can be better at blending in. View story

WIFR-TV Online. Nation's largest autism research study to uncover critical genetic links. Easterseals Academy in Machesney Park hosted an autism research study to see if there is a genetic link to the condition and figure out ways to try to diagnose it earlier. View story

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Associated Press. Girls & autism: It can be subtle, or absent for some at risk.The gender effect is a hot topic in autism research and one that could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating a condition that affects at least 1 in 68 U.S. children.Autism screening is recommended for all kids at age 18 months and 2 years. But screening tools typically are based on research in autistic boys, said Rachel Loftin, clinical director of an autism center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. View story

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Chicago Tribune. Study to explore connection between autism and genetics. This story focuses on a Northbrook family, who were all tested as a part of what organizers are calling the largest study of its kind to find genetic markers of autism spectrum disorder. Organizers of that year-old study — called SPARK (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge) — are asking for the families of 50,000 people with autism to be tested. View story

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Rush InPerson blog. Sex Ed and Autism. Rachel Loftin, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and clinical director of the AARTS Center at Rush. Loftin describes how autism-specific sexuality education is an important part of programming for people with autism spectrum disorder. View story

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FOX 32. Muppet with Autism to Join 'Sesame Street.'  Eileen Crehan, PhD from the AARTS Center at Rush interviews with Sylvia Perez of FOX 32 News about Julia, the newest Sesame Street cast member and the only character with autism spectrum disorder. View video

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PR Newswire. Autism Center at Rush Seeking Participants for Social Skills Study. Chicagoland families and providers with children on the autism spectrum are invited to enroll in a groundbreaking social skills study.  The Autism Center at Rush University Medical Center is actively recruiting children ages 8-11 with autism spectrum disorder to participate in a study evaluating how behavioral therapy and the hormone oxytocin can enhance social thinking skills. View story

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ABC 7. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center creating national database to study autism. Hosea Sanders of ABC 7 News interviews the Belmonte family at the AARTS Center, where they are taking part in a groundbreaking research study called SPARK, which is now gathering genetic information on autistic individuals. This video features our very own AARTS staff, Katy Heerwagen and Latha Soorya, PhD. View video

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Rush InPerson blog. Rush and the ‘Transformative’ SPARK Autism Study. The goal is simple: to advance our understanding of the genetic components of autism and speed up autism research. In adopting this mission, we acknowledge that there is still so much we do not know, and that we need the investment of tens of thousands of individuals to answer the many questions that remain. View story

Huffington Post. The Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services Center at Rush University Medical Center launches innovative new autism study on social skills to understand oxytocin’s role in social interaction. The Autism Family Center interviewed AARTS Center research coordinator Anthony Burns to learn more. View story

The Autism research’s overlooked racial bias. Despite popular belief, white kids aren't the only ones on the spectrum. View story


More news

News iconSage Jounals. Towards sex- and gender-informed autism research. There is a burgeoning interest, among autistic people and their families, clinicians, researchers and the general public, in the characteristics and experiences of girls and women on the autism spectrum. To a large extent, this has been driven by a growing awareness that autistic females are under-recognised. They are more likely than equivalent males to be diagnosed late, or not at all View article

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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (JADD). Brief Report: The Preliminary Psychometric Properties of the Social Communication Checklist. This article summarizes a series of small studies that have looked at how well a brief checklist (the Social Communication Checklist) can be used by parents and professionals to measure early social communication skills like turn taking and imitation. View article

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The The Challenges of Autism in Small Town-America. This article focuses on how families are turning to video-conferencing for treatment when resources are lacking in small towns. View story

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FOX 32. Digital Detox: Improving Brain Health By Limiting Your Digital Use. Dr. Louis Kraus, psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center, explains why its beneficial for your physical and mental well-being to get unplugged.View video

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 Psychiatric News. AMA opposes juvenile detention in adult correctional facilities. Child psychiatrist Louis Kraus, MD, says that the AMA’s new policy reflects a progressively more humane attitude on the part of the AMA regarding youth in the criminal justice system. View story

News icon Rush joins largest autism study in U.S., sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. The study, called SPARK, will collect demographic, medical and behavioral information and DNA samples for genetic analysis from 50,000 people with autism and their family members. View story

News icon Unlocking links to autism, Grant will aid research of diseases associated with autism. View story

News icon A report from a human rights organization goes into horrifying detail about what’s happening at a school for students with severe behavioral and developmental issues. Anderson Cooper asks Louis Kraus, MD, a board member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, to rebut an attorney for the Judge Rotenburg Center. View story

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New York Times. Louis Kraus, MD, director of the AARTS Center and chief of child psychiatry at Rush, warns about the inferior quality of some generic equivalents of ADHD and autism medications and advocates for stricter follow up from the FDA. View story

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New York Times. As President Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, Louis Kraus, MD, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rush and author of a report on psychiatric and mental health for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, calls the practice "barbaric" and almost certain to deepen existing psychological problems. View story


The AARTS Center at Rush holds live presentations on a variety of helpful topics. For more information on our next presentation, please visit our Facebook page. The following past presentations can be viewed at any time: