A one-of-a-kind national network of autism centers designed to transform how care is developed and provided to those on the spectrum and their families is growing.

The Autism Care Network is adding five new sites, bringing the Autism Speaks-backed collaboration to 25 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Launched last year, network sites treat individuals with autism and work together to collect data from patients, test treatments and then share best practices among themselves and with other community providers.

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New centers include Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine; the State University of New York, Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y.; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Marcus Center) and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“We are thrilled to have such an impressive group of medical centers joining the network. Their expertise and leadership will accelerate our vision of a world where all individuals with autism spectrum disorder can achieve optimal health and quality of life,” said Donna Murray, vice president of clinical programs at Autism Speaks.

The Autism Care Network is an expanded version of what used to be known as the Autism Treatment Network. With the reintroduction of the collaboration last year, Autism Speaks said the focus moved from being primarily clinical to a situation where patient experiences spur research.

More than 40,000 patients are served annually through the network, which offers “whole person and whole family autism care,” Autism Speaks said.

Onboarding for the new sites is expected to be complete by the end of this month, the group said.

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