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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Organization For Autism Research Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Autism Research, Disabilities, Health

Mission: The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) was created in December 2001; it is the product of the shared vision and unique life experiences of its seven founders. Led by these parents and grandparents of children and adults on the autism spectrum, OAR set out to use applied science to answer questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers and caregivers confront daily. No other autism organization has this singular focus. The mission of OAR is to apply research to the challenges of autism. OAR defines applied research as research that directly impacts the day-to-day quality of life of people with autism. It entails the systematic investigation of variables associated with positive outcomes in such areas as education, communication, self-care, social skills, employment, behavior, and adult and community living. In this context, it extends to issues related to family support, the efficacy of service delivery systems, and demographic analyses of the autism community. OAR funds studies that address these issues, and uses knowledge gained from research to develop and disseminate resources that are relevant and responsive to the everyday experiences of the entire autism community.

Results: - Funded more than $3.6 million for new autism research: 98 grants/$3,345,000 for pilot studies and $191,660 in grants to 105 graduates - Awarded $476,000 in scholarships to 156 persons with autism attending college or vocational-technical schools after high school - Published eight guides in the Life Journey through Autism series: A Parent’s Guide to Research, An Educator’s Guide to Autism, An Educator’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome, A Guide for Transition to Adulthood, A Parent’s Guide to Assessment, A Guide for Military Families, Navigating the Special Education System, A Guide to Safety, and An Educator's Guide to Autism (Level 1 Supports) - Created Operation Autism, a website that provides military families impacted by autism with information 24/7 - Introduced the “Autism in the School House” program built around the Kit for Kids Peer Education Initiative and Understanding Autism, a “Curriculum-in-a-Box” containing resource guides and a curriculum DVD that gives middle and high school teachers a basic understanding of autism and best practices for teaching students with autism - Created and delivered three new resources related to siblings of individuals with autism, one for parents, one for teen siblings, and a fun workbook for younger siblings. - Created Hire Autism, a unique jobs portal that allows adults with autism to meet prospective employers in an autism-friendly online meeting space

Programs: scholarships, applied research grants, graduate research grants, evidence-based information resources, and more.

Community Stories

88 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked as an intern for Organization For Autism Research, Inc. (OAR) since June; not only is this internship extremely fulfilling in terms of career and personal goals, but I also get to directly see the beneficial effects that OAR has on the autism community. These effects can be seen through the free resources we provide and the research we fund. I've had the opportunity of talking to people via social media who want to learn more about autism, and I can show them OAR's resources with confidence that they will find everything they need. As an intern, the staff has been very nice, friendly, and supportive. All of the OAR employees are especially dedicated to their work and OAR's goals. I highly recommend checking out OAR's website, https://researchautism.org/, because these resources could change lives! I still plan on sending them to family and friends after my internship ends and as new resources are published.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rather than focus on cause or cure, OAR focuses on providing resources that help individuals with autism live their best lives, as well as educators, parents, siblings, employers, co-workers and anybody else whose lives are touched by autism. One of OAR's newer programs, Hire Autism, assists job-seekers with autism in their search for meaningful employment. The members of the Hire Autism team work directly with job seekers to assist them as they apply for jobs. The team also works hard to engage employers who are interested in providing employment opportunities to this largely untapped talent pool. Through a unique online platform, Hire Autism helps connect job-seekers with employers. With an estimated 80-85% unemployment rate for this population, I am encouraged to see OAR tackling this incredibly important issue. OAR is opening doors that have remained closed for far too long.
I've had the pleasure of talking with applicants who had just been hired, some for the very first time. Their joy and excitement at finally being able to work was immeasurable. The opportunity to grow and learn while increasing their independence and earning money is something every person should be able to experience. OAR is making that a reality. I strongly encourage people to check out hireautism.org and learn more about this valuable resource.

Hillary Steele M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When. Y son was diagnosed with autism, I knew I wanted to raise awareness. I decided to do this by running a marathon. I really wanted to run for an organization that actually uses a majority of donations to fund research. This is how I found OAR. I have received so much support from the organization, and it has Become my number one autism charity to support. It’s such a wonderful organization, and I am so proud to be a part of it. #TeamCole

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the past two years, I have committed to raising money to support OAR and everything it does for kids, adults and families living with autism. My 13-year old son, William, is autistic and running for OAR is one way I can contribute to OAR’s efforts to help foster more acceptance, support and opportunities for kids like William. OAR’s focus on research to help people with autism prepare for their future, whether it be to attend school, acquire vocational skills, live independently or secure jobs, is something I believe in and want to continue to support. Families living with autism are so often focused on the here and now, celebrating daily successes and milestones, dealing with the day-to-day emotions, making it hard to think about the future of our children and what their needs will be, 5, 10, 15 years from now. OAR is working to help create tools, resources and opportunities to help our children be successful later in life. I know I can look to OAR as a source for advocacy and guidance for my son as he gets older, and I will continue to champion OAR through my running to help support their mission and their efforts to prepare kids like William for the challenges and opportunities he will face in the years to come.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Sasha Grossman, and I got to experience the wonderful opportunity of interning with Hire Autism this past summer of 2018, after completing my freshman year at Virginia Tech. Hire Autism and OAR strives each and every day to promote inclusivity and acceptance into the workforce for job seekers with autism in the Northern Virginia area. I saw this firsthand; through working alongside an ambitious, dedicated, and determined staff, I got to see how Hire Autism truly works with individuals step by step in a customized job search assistance. This has helped to achieve the not only Hire Autism’s goal of helping to hire individuals in a variety of job placements that interest them, but to make the at times, tumultuous and frustrating job search more comfortable and extremely adaptable for families and individuals with autism. I worked heavily with Hire Autism’s social media development, especially Facebook (go check them out! @hireautism) which I feel has a wonderful combination of helpful tips and tricks for the job search, updates on new employers that sign on with the Hire Autism website, and much more. The numerous resources, passionate employees, and overall mission amazed me when I first started with OAR, and continues to do so today as I am so thankful to have been able to work here.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

OAR’s resources are really great. What they do for families is truly incredible. I am a therapist and my son was just diagnosed. I have looked and asked for good resources for families for years. These are the best I have found. The fact that they supply resources at no cost is amazing. Thank you so much for the difference you are making!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The team was caring and passionate about their goals and objectives. It was great working with them and sharing their excitement and commitment to furthering the cause of educating those affected about Autism research and better understanding the condition.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently volunteered with this organization. Very professional and caring personnel who are motivated, informed advocates!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Spent an incredible couple of hours learning about Organization for Autism Research and everything the organization advocates for while helping the staff prepare for an upcoming meeting. The team members were incredibly helpful, insightful and cheerful while we worked together and learned more about the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a new volunteer with OAR, the team provided a comprehensive overview of the history of autism and the organization's goals. The team also highlighted resources available to families and how we as volunteers may remain involved. I thank OAR for enlightening me regarding autism and how we can make a difference for the organization and empower people living with autism to lead healthy lives. Thank-you again for the opportunity to volunteer.

Board Member

Rating: 5

We had a great time volunteering at OAR! Their contributions to the autism community are fantastic and have many practical applications for students at home and school. My team helped them prepare for a fundraising campaign and update their anchor guide to autism for families receiving a new diagnosis.

1 Kyleigh M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of interning with OAR this past summer for 3 months. Having just finished my freshman year at Auburn, they took a chance on me and I am so grateful that they did. I had the opportunity to help create a "Guide to College" for students with ASD, and every idea I had was supported. I specifically worked with the Programs and Outreach staff, and the resources, free to anyone who would benefit from them, are incredible. From guides in Spanish to guides to Navigating the Special Education System, OAR is there to help every step of the way. The staff is small but incredibly passionate, and helps individuals with autism and their families throughout the entire country - one of the things that amazes me the most about this organization.

Maria Isabel V.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Organization for Autism Research is my saving grace! I run for them, I raise funds for them and I am heavily involved in everything they support! As a parent there are no words when an organization is dedicated and committed to research, education and resources to assist with children, teenagers and adults touched by autism. Just knowing that they are there for all of us is a blessing! Thank you for all that you do everyday!

Client Served

Rating: 5

OAR is a wonderful organization to work with. They provide invaluable resources to parents, siblings, teachers, and other populations affected by autism, all backed by trusted scientific research. Their dedication to helping people affected by autism is evident not just by their work, but also by their passionate employees, their involvement in local communities, and even their office space. It’s amazing that 87% of their funds go directly towards research and services; not many other nonprofits can say the same. We’re proud to work with OAR on a daily basis and look forward to seeing this organization grow!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our organization refers families and the general public to the Autism Siblings Initiative and Guide book sections. The resources are valuable. No sense recreating the wheel - just use OAR.
I personally have reached out to OAR directly. Someone in the organization always gets back to me within 2 days and they follow up!
The website is easy for anyone to navigate which makes it easier for everyone.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was awarded a scholarship from OAR that was instrumental in helping me successfully complete college. As a person with autism, I know there are not always many resources available for older students or adults on the spectrum. I am glad that OAR has chosen to do much of their work in this area specifically, which I think is unique among organizations working with autism.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Meghana Shetty and I had the privilege of interning at OAR for 6 months- it was an incredibly fulfilling experience! I came to OAR hoping to learn how scientific research is translated into practical resources for real people- years of volunteer work with autism taught me how tricky it can be for families to find reliable resources for their loved ones. OAR's unique mission to “use applied science to answer the questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers, and caregivers confront daily” immediately jumped out to me. In addition to funding applied research projects at top autism research institutions, OAR develops thoughtful, research-based resources catered to the diverse range of issues (and individuals!) in the autism community. The dedicated staff collaborates with influential autism professionals to ensure useful and credible information is available for those who need it. As an intern, I was allowed to contribute directly to several projects such as Schoolhouse Outreach, the college resource, and the research grant competition . In the process, I learned a great deal about nonprofit work, resource development, national outreach, and the current state of autism research. I also learned how highly regarded OAR is by the professionals, fundraisers, and families who work with them and benefit from their work. It was a pleasure working with OAR's caring and dedicated staff and I would proudly encourage anyone in the autism community to check them out!

2 Collette Sosnowy

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Organization for Autism Research plays an important role in advancing research by funding a variety of projects that impact the daily lives of individuals with autism and their families. Their support for our project about youth transitioning out of high school is helping to shed light on where young people need more support as they navigate the challenging shift into adulthood. Their numerous resources are also a big help for families!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the amazing pleasure of working with OAR earlier this year. Not only am I so impressed with the work that they do on a daily basis for Autism research and fundraising, but the caliber of their staff... having had an inside perspective, they are truly a "practice what you preach" organization. The team's dedication, passion and spirit was evident every time we spoke- I can't wait to see how they continue to serve and grow.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Alex Klusman, and I am one of the applicants who applied for the Schwallie Family Scholarship. When I received a call in August from the Executive Director of OAR to tell me that I was awarded the scholarship, I was extremely proud! OAR has been an excellent nonprofit organization. Everyone in the OAR program has been extremely helpful. They were always reliable when I needed assistance with the application process. They explained everything in thorough detail step by step. They were excellent with answering all of my phone calls and replying back to me through email. The OAR committee even kept me posted through email when they were going through the process of selecting applicants for the Schwallie Family Scholarship, and telling selected applicants what documents they had to post. I am extremely impressed with how helpful and reliable the OAR committee has been. I have had to face the challenges with autism throughout my life, I am proud to support OAR. They have exceeded my expectations in every way possible.