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A major barrier to improving the health and well-being of children and families touched by autism is the lack of knowledge and expertise.This limits access to care and early intervention and impedes the development of appropriate public health programs that can improve the quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families.These challenges are further complicated by a shortage of experts and trained professionals.

Autism Speaks' international priorities are to increase autism awareness and recognition, service delivery, and research collaboration around the world. Forming strategic partnerships among countries with different cultures, levels of expertise, and existing service infrastructure is critical for achieving this goal. We firmly believe that, in addition to direct benefits to individual countries and territories, lessons learned from these partnerships will help the entire global autism community.

The Autism Speaks Global Autism Public Health (GAPH) Initiative is an innovative, integrated approach that focuses on three goals:
* Increasing public and professional awareness of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
* Increasing research expertise and international collaboration through training of autism researchers, with a focus on epidemiology, screening and early diagnosis, and treatment
* Enhancing service delivery by providing training and expertise to service providers in early diagnosis and intervention

We are currently partnering with autism organizations in Albania, Ireland, Philippines, Mexico and Qatar. With your support, we hope to expand these existing partnerships and launch new ones.

You can read more about GAPH on our site (http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/research/initiatives/gaph.php). Materials are available in eight languages.

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