We've long claimed that one ideal role for iPS cells is modeling disease and screening drugs. In fact, we're so committed to that idea we produced a video about it with CIRM grantee Bruce Conklin at the Gladstone Institutes. Scientific American also has a story on disease model their March issue, available online.
Back in May 2009, CIRM held a workshop in which leading scientists discussed ways in which stem cell research could benefit people with autism (the autism workshop report from that meeting is available here). I have two friends with children who are on the spectrum and have seen first-hand the toll the disease takes on the families.