In an unusual move, a major university will shutter its autism center this fall when the world-renowned researcher who currently heads it leaves for a new job.

As many institutions look to beef up autism research efforts amid growing awareness of the developmental disorder’s prevalence, the University of Michigan says its 10-year-old Autism and Communication Disorders Center will close this fall.

The center’s end will coincide with the departure of its director, Catherine Lord, a Harvard-educated psychologist with a significant body of autism research and numerous books on the topic to her credit. Lord is leaving to take a new position in New York, which will allow her to be near her children.

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Lord says the university has known she would be leaving for some time, but did not take steps to find a replacement. She blames bureaucracy and the high cost of autism research for the university’s decision to close the center.

While the University of Michigan says some of the autism center’s initiatives will continue, many of the research dollars that Lord and her colleagues brought in will soon end up elsewhere and that has parents concerned. In recent years, such funding has allowed many families to receive diagnostic screenings and treatment at no cost by participating in studies, reports To read more click here.

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