We have been supporting research into autism for 25 years. At the Orange Foundation, this cause is one of our traditional priorities. Promoting research also means helping in the daily lives of people with autism.
In 1991, at the beginning of our support to research into autism, there were still few studies undertaken. More than 20 years later, there have been important advances and discoveries. The researchers we have supported have been able to make progress in their work, and become key figures in the field of autism. In Tours, for example, there have been multiple research initiatives under the leadership of Gilbert Lelord, Catherine Barthélémy and Frédérique Bonnet-Brilhault. Over time, all these advances have improved the care of people with autism.
122 programmes and research grants supported in 10 years
For 2016-2017, we are launching a call for research proposals on autism and new technologies in association with FIRAH (The International Foundation for Applied Disability Research).
The aim: to measure the impact of new technologies on people with autism and their support group. Better understanding and better use of the benefits these new technologies can contribute in terms of motor skills, cognition, emotion and learning. But also to identify possible addictions (from a behavioural and cerebral point of view) or the adaptations needed for these new technologies for early support of children, particularly by their parents (depending on age, for example...).
Promoting the exchange and sharing of information
Advances in research must be shared and disseminated. In recent years we have organised two scientific symposiums on research. The first, in 2012, was focused on discoveries involved in research work. Accompanied by the release of the book "L’autisme", this day covered the work over the past 20 years, and researchers who devote their time to autism took the podium. The second, in 2014, took place at the Institut Pasteur in the shape of ITSAD (Innovative Technologies for Autism) international conferences. This time for discussion, which was more focused on digital technology, brought together more than 700 participants involved with autism.
Digital technology, a research tool
This conference emphasised the importance of the emergence of digital technology. New technologies are galvanising the research world. At the same time, they enable advancement in research and improve the care of people with autism. In this context, we support initiatives involving digital technology to help research. Applications, software, robotics, collaborative platforms... these are all projects which will tomorrow be synonymous with progress for people with autism.
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