Welcome to ACE

The ACE and Healthy Infant Development Laboratory is dedicated to discovering the causes of autism and paving the way for more effective autism treatment. We focus on research to help identify what autism looks like in babies as young as 12 months. Our research is completely funded by grants and donations from people like you! Read More

Concerned Your Child Has Autism? 

Does your child have Autism?

A recent CDC report (2018) notes that 1 in 59 children born each year will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Are you concerned your child might be one of them?

Health Hero Highlights

Our Center is happy to introduce the Health Hero of the month! Every month we will be highlighting a healthcare staff member within our pediatric network who has demonstrated an outstanding job at identifying early signs of developmental delays and supported their community. 

This August and September, we selected Dr. Jennifer Barkley from Sharp Rees Stealy and Catherine Crouch from Scripps Clinic as the Health Heroes of each month! 

Click here to read more about Dr. Barkley and Catherine!

Dr. Jennifer Barkley 

Catherine Crouch 

Video Highlights 

  • CARTA: Human Origins

    Lessons from Autism Spectrum Disorders - Karen Pierce: The Early Identification of Autism: Examinations of Brain and Behavior

  • CARTA: Human Origins

    Lessons from Autism Spectrum Disorders - Eric Courchesne: Surprising Findings in Autism: Insights into Anthropogeny?

  • New Autism Study

    Dr. Eric Courchesne, UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence, and Dr. Michael S. Nelson, Kaiser Permanente, talk with KPBS.

  • Center of Autism Excellence

    Groundbreaking research on autism being done by Eric Courchesne and Karen Pierce at UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence.

  • Causes, Screening, Treatment

    Eric Courchesne and Karen Pierce discuss advances in autism causes, screening and Treatment.

  • Autism & Brain Overgrowth

    UC San Diego's Dr. Eric Courchesne explains how an overabundance of neurons in the front cortex of the brain leads to autism.

  • Underlying Brain Biology

    Dr. Eric Courchesne, keynote speaker at IMFAR, describes the underlying brain biology of autism.

  • Autism Research Today

    Autism Research Today on Dateline. Watch Video on MSNBC.

News & Events 

Dr Pierce's journey with autism


Kids help Kids & Donate $6,400 to Autism Research!

Two incredibly talented musicians, Alvin (10) and Caitlin (8), electrified the audience in their Believe- Benefit Concert hosted on June 10th, 2018. Their Concert raised a total of $6,400 and all donations go to research focused on discovering the causes of autism at the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence. Read more..

The UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence thanks everyone who kindly donated to the Concert and supported this event. The Center is especially appreciative and grateful for the generous donation from the entire Wang Family! 

Click here to watch the performance!

Eric Courchesne: Reaching for the Rings of Autism Research

Read the article here

UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence partners with Simons Foundation SPARK study to help launch largest ever autism research study in U.S.

Click here to read more about the study. If you are interested in participating, please contact study coordinator at (858) 534-6906 or email us at info-ace@ucsd.edu.

"Lack of Autism Screening Could Delay Care, Services," San Diego Union Tribune

Drs. Eric Courchesne and Karen Pierce respond to the recent declaration by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).  Read the article here

Eye Gaze Patterns as Biomarkers

A recent study by Karen Pierce and colleagues shows eye gaze patterns might be a powerful biomarker of a subype of ASD.

Read more

Erik Weber Passes Bar Exam

Congratulations to law school graduate and ACE participant Erik Weber, the first person with autism to pass the state bar exam.

Read more

Brain Imaging Explains Reasons for Good and Poor Language Outcomes in ASD Toddlers

Using functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI), UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers say it may be possible to predict future language development outcomes in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even before they've been formally diagnosed with the condition. The findings are published in the April 9 online issue of the journal Neuron.

Video Abstract

Gene expression study demonstrates biomarkers with good sensitivity and specificity for boys with ASD can be identified in pediatric settings. Paper published in JAMA Psychiatry  on March 4, 2015.
ACE Awarded NIMH Services Grant

We are one of five programs selected to receive funding from a highly competitive call from the NIMH for an early screening program for developmental delays. In this program, we follow a 3-stage model, the Get SET (Screen, Evaluate, Treat) Early model. Read more

ACE brain study shows that autism begins during pregnancy. Paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 27, 2014. 
Learn more | See a video



Typical Toddler Development
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Autism Research 

Research Programs at the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence are contributing to the overall understanding of autism spectrum disorder.

Latino Outreach Program

Funded by NFAR.
NFAR funds Free Developmental Evaluations for Spanish-Speaking Toddlers


Need To Train Typical Kids How to Play with Children With Autism?

How to be a friend

 Give the Peer Manual to the typical peer and use the Teacher Manual to help the adult understand how to run the play sessions

Also Check Out...

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