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National Autism Network

National Autism Organizations

Below is a summary of the prominent national autism organizations.

Autism Speaks
Officially founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, Autism Speaks has become the nation’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Autism Speaks and their preceding organizations, which include the National Alliance of Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), have provided $160 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization has spearheaded a number of networks and initiatives to investigate the environmental and genetic causes of autism. Autism Speaks also works to spread autism awareness on a global scale and continues to disseminate autism interventions and information to underdeveloped populations worldwide.

Autism Society
The Autism Society proudly exclaims that they are the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization that exists to improve the lives of all those affected by autism, on and off the spectrum. Like the Autism Research Institute¸ the Autism Society was founded by Dr. Bernard Rimland and other parents of children with autism. The Autism Society is proud to say that their website is one of the most visited in the world associated with the subject of autism and has worked to spearhead numerous pieces of local and national legislation, including the 2006 Combating Autism Act, the first federal autism-specific law. In addition to these efforts, the organization publishes a quarterly journal, known as the Autism Advocate, and hosts one of the nation’s most comprehensive annual conferences on the subject of autism.

Autism Science Foundation
The Autism Science Foundation is a nonprofit corporation founded in 2009 with the aim to support autism research. The foundation supports autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing, and disseminating autism research. The foundation funds pre- and postdoctoral fellowships to those interested in pursuing careers in basic and clinical research centered on autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Since its establishment, ASF has funded over $700,000 in pre-and postdoctoral grants. ASF also provides travel grants to the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) for parents of children with autism, individuals with autism, special education teachers, and other stakeholders.

Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)
An extension of the Simons Foundation, the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is a research program with a mission to advance scientific research that will benefit individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Since 2007, SFARI has committed over $200 million in external research support to over 150 investigating bodies in the United States and abroad.

Autism Research Institute
The Autism Research Institute was in established in 1967 by psychologist Dr. Bernard Rimland. The organization was founded on the principles that autism spectrum disorder is treatable. Some notable undertakings of the Autism Research Institute include support of the Autistic Global Initiative, funding $1.5 million in research grants over the past three years, and funding of a tissue bank for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the University of Maryland, the Digestive Function Laboratory Repository at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a specimen bank for neuro-typical individuals for researchers to have proper comparison controls at their disposal. In addition to their research endeavors, the Autism Research Institute advocates for the rights of all people with ASD and aims to educate the masses with accurate and insightful information concerning individuals on the autism spectrum.

Organization for Autism Research
The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) was created in December of 2001 by seven parents and grandparents of children and adults on the autism spectrum. The organization works to utilize autism research to enhance the day-to-day lives of all individuals on the autism spectrum. Specifically, pilot studies and targeted research funded by OAR aim to provide new insights into the behavioral and social development of individuals with autism with an emphasis on communication, education, and vocational challenges. Their research projects work to address issues affecting individuals on the autism spectrum “across the lifespan.” The Organization for Autism Research also employs the OAR Scientific Council, which is comprised of 16 leading autism and medical professionals serving as an expert information resource for all OAR matters concerning aspects of research.

National Autism Association
The National Autism Association is a parent-run, nonprofit organization founded in 2003. According to their mission statement, the organization serves to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community. The organization has placed a priority on research concerning autism and environmental interactions through studies of environmental triggers responsible for increasing the prevalence of autism in genetically susceptible children, as well as investigating promising treatment options. The National Autism Association funds the Helping Hand Program, which was developed as a financial aid tool for families affected by autism, the Big Red Safety Toolkit, which includes several educational materials and tools to help with your child’s safety, and the Progress Research initiative, which financially supports studies that hold real promise for children currently on the autism spectrum.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation
The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (ASDF) supports children with ASD by providing information, education, and financial assistance to families and relevant community service organizations. The organization’s Autism Awareness Project provides individuals and agencies who work with infants, toddlers, and preschool children with free Early Detection Toolkits. Other services of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation include the Social Skills Camp Scholarship Program, the Holiday Gift Card Program, the iPad program, and other scholarships that allow children across the nation the opportunity to participate in swim therapy, equine therapy, and even attend film school camp.

Easter Seals
The Easter Seals organization has been working to help individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, for nearly 90 years. Today, Easter Seals services and supports are provided through a network of more than 550 sites in the U.S. and through Ability First Australia. These services are offered to children, adults, and seniors with special needs. The organization’s primary services include medical rehabilitation, employment & training, children’s services, adult & senior services, and camping & recreation. Additionally, Easter Seals advocates for the passage of legislation that will help people with disabilities.

Global Autism Project
The Global Autism Project works to build local capacity to provide services to individuals with autism in under-served communities across the globe. The organization partners with autism centers established by local individuals to address the lack of resources and limited understanding of autism that plagues many under-served populations. Global partners of the GAP participate in evaluations, data collection on ABA therapy, and Skype-based training weekly that help the organization to identify areas that need improvement and to best treat every individual child and track their progress. Additionally, all clinical services are overseen by Board Certified Behavior Analysts and the organization is always seeking new communities with which to collaborate.

National Fragile X Foundation
The National Fragile X Foundation (NXFX) works to provide information and advocacy about fragile X syndrome and connect those affected by the disorder to appropriate clinics across the nation. Their website houses an impressive amount of useful documents and information concerning every aspect of the genetic disorder. Topics include fragile X-associated disorders, treatments & interventions, research, public policy & legislative advocacy, community, and resources. Their community resources range from fragile X related events across the nation to their annual international conference.

US Autism & Asperger Association (USAAA)
The US Autism & Asperger Association (USAAA) is a nonprofit organization working to provide the opportunity for everyone with autism spectrum disorders to achieve their fullest potential, by enriching the autism community with education, training, accessible resources, and partnerships with local and national projects. Since its establishment in 1994, the USAAA has been dedicated to providing resources, treatments, and services for the benefit of the ASD community.

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
The mission of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is to provide advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding Federal activities related to ASD. The committee works to facilitate the exchange of information on and coordination of ASD activities among the member agencies and organizations. The IACC also functions to increase public understanding of the member agencies’ activities, programs, policies, and research by providing a public forum for discussions related to ASD research and services.

For a list of regional and local autism organizations, please visit the National Autism Network Provider Directory where you can search for an organization by name or by state.