George Washington receives $2.5 million for Autism Initiative

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George Washington University has announced a gift of $2.5 million to provide an endowment for a professor who will lead the university's Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders  (AND) initiative.

With support from the Nelson A. and Michele Carbonell Family Foundation, the inaugural director of the initiative will work to make GW an integrated one-stop resource for people and families affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition, AND will work to shape policy and programs that streamline and lower the cost of services for people with such disorders.

To date, AND has enlisted eighty-six faculty members from five GW schools, including the Columbian College of Arts and Science, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the School of Law, the Milken Institute School of Public Health, and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Nelson Carbonell, who chairs the university's board of trustees, and Michele Carbonell, who is chair of the National Capital Area chapter of Autism Speaks, have a 20-year-old son with autism who is a student at Northern Virginia Community College. "These young adults — they are the first wave of the autism epidemic. We need to do better by them," said Michele Carbonell. "And we don’t have time to waste."

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