Ohio Family Story: Advocate Elaine Hamilton

Picture of teenage girl

Elaine Hamilton has spent years helping families of children with disabilities, as a parent mentor, advocate, and volunteer in Ohio. So when a representative of SPARK asked her to tell others about the autism study, she quickly agreed. In fact, she did more than that: she signed up her own family.

“I did it for myself as well,” she says. Her daughter Maliyah, 17, has autism. Two relatives also have autism, and Elaine Hamilton suspects a genetic link. Participants in SPARK — people with autism and often their parents — provide a saliva sample for genetic testing. SPARK researchers look for changes in genes and chromosomes that may contribute to autism.

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