Accessibility notes

Page content

Bringing the pieces together

April 07, 2017

Through its research, resources and creativity, Ohio State experts are leading the way in raising awareness about autism. This month we highlight the progress being made as part of national Autism Awareness Month.

Page content

Today, people around the world recognize puzzle pieces as a symbol that represents autism awareness and the complexity of the autism spectrum. Here at Ohio State, researchers and other leaders have been working for decades to help break down that complexity and using the university’s breadth of resources to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The Ohio State University is perfectly suited with its vast array of expertise across the entire gamut of scientific resources and interdisciplinary care,” said Dr. Marc J. Tassé, director of Ohio State’s Nisonger Center, which focuses on helping people with developmental disabilities.

“Finding a cure for autism will be a team effort and Ohio State and the Wexner Medical Center have all the necessary team members to make that happen.”

This month, there’s extra attention on ASD, as April is Autism Awareness Month and Ohio State will highlight a series of its efforts by providing story content on this page. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 68 children in the United States has ASD. Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that can include significant behavior, communication, sensory and social difficulties. It’s characterized as a spectrum disorder because it affects each individual differently.

Dr. Marc Tassé Dr. Marc J. Tassé reviews research findings at Ohio State’s Nisonger Center, which has been at the forefront of autism-related research.

“Raising awareness of ASD is the first step toward paving the way to acceptance into our communities, school and workplaces of individuals with this neurodevelopmental disorder,” said Tassé. The center has been at the forefront of research in the area of clinical trials and evaluating treatment options for ASD.

Ohio State has researchers and other faculty from a wide variety of disciplines focused on ASD. Researchers across campus are diving into the complexities of the autism spectrum, while faculty are using the arts to better reach children with ASD. At the same time, donors are making all this work possible through their generous contributions.

“The number of cases of autism spectrum disorder has been on the rise for the past decade,” Tassé said. “We are not quite sure why that is, but we do know that providing early intervention services to these children will significantly improve their outcomes and reduce their reliance on more intensive supports and services over their lifetime.”

Check back throughout Autism Awareness Month for more on Ohio State’s efforts…


Research plays a critical role in answering questions that still surround autism today. Faculty from multiple disciplines at Ohio State are teaming up to find those answers.


Ohio State’s progress in autism awareness and research wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors. For one family in particular, it’s a cause that’s very personal.


The arts have the power to transform lives. Here at Ohio State, faculty and students are using creativity to help those with autism express themselves in new ways.