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2018 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

94 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

OAR's Hire Autism program helped to place our adult disabled son with a great new employer, Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston, VA. The job search took almost a year but they showed great perseverance, particularly Amanda Rioux. Our son is much more fulfilled and eagerly looks forward to going to work each week. His employer has gone out of their way to accommodate his disabilities and enable him to succeed in his new role. Thanks again to OAR for all their support!!

Donor

Rating: 5

As a former staff member, I took great pride in OAR and the care the staff, board, and volunteers had towards the Autism realm. The compassion, innovation, and overall support that OAR provides to people is fantastic! I know autism professionals that strive to be a funded researcher, and love the innovative methods to treatments is second to none. Since leaving the organization I can constantly referring people to researchautism.org and bragging about the amazing work they do. As a donor, I believe in the organization and greatly appreciate the impact they made on my life as staff, but more importantly the impact they make on the lives of my neighbors who utilize their resources. THANK YOU, OAR for being such a tremendous organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the father of a low functioning 5 year old boy Autism, I learned about OAR approximately 6 months ago as I searched for an organization to be a part of in order to help the lives of Autistic individuals and their families. As I've learned more about the initiatives that OAR has developed and been a part of, I can't tell you how grateful I am for OAR's commitment to helping those with Autism. I have been in close communication with OAR's executive director over the course of the last 6 months who has shown such dedication and great leadership for OAR.

As a prospective board member, I recently attended OAR's annual meeting. It was very clear that a high percentage of a donor's contribution goes toward helping the lives of those with Autism rather than covering administrative costs. While any organization will have administrative costs, it was clear that OAR runs a very lean organization and monitors very closely where donor's contributions are going.

OAR's focus is on helping those with Autism (and their families) deal with the myriad of challenges involved in becoming functional individuals in society. OAR does this in numerous ways such as granting college/vocational scholarships to those with Autism, providing online and print resources to Autistic individuals (and their families), and working with Autistic individuals to link them with Autistic friendly employers. OAR also provides grant funding to researchers who participate in "applied research". Simply put, applied research is research focused on developing ways to directly improve the lives of those with Autism.

As an Autism parent, I know the struggles and challenges for those with Autism and their families. It is very clear that OAR is improving the lives of those with Autism in becoming functional adults and dealing with their condition. Any contribution you can make toward this organization will be so greatly appreciated by more people than you can imagine.

Gregory B.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was looking for a charity to run for back in 2003 so I could gain an entry into the Marine Corps Marathon. I chose the Organization for Autism Research. I've run for them every year since, bringing in a small amounts of donations from my friends/family. I've been impressed over the years by the great research they have been doing to help families with autistic children - the fruit of their tireless fundraising efforts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After a dear friend of mine started working for OAR, she recommended me to be a parent contributor to their monthly OARacle newsletter. I was beyond honored. The OARacle newsletter is an example of the community needed to raise children with autism with contributions from parents, doctors, therapists, educators and self-advocates.

I'm grateful for the research OAR funds, directly benefiting from an executive functioning curriculum OAR supported. Unstuck & On Target is a research based executive functioning curriculum that teaches parents and children the skills and scripts needed to help our children (and us as parents) develop the skills to be more flexible in life and plan for the unexpected.

As a military family, I LOVE that OAR has chosen to address the unique challenges of raising children with autism in the military. It creates its own unique challenges with constant transition, moving every couple of years and often being away from family support.

I love OAR so much I'm an Autism Materials Distributor volunteer sharing their FREE resources with our community in Frederick, MD. I will continue to educate others about autism using OAR's resources. This year I'm planning to build autism awareness at my son's new school using OAR's Kit for Kids.

OAR, we sincerely appreciate all you do to make our lives a little bit easier through your mission to fund applied research and your FREE resources for the community!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I learned about OAR’s Hire Autism program last winter while meeting with a group of parents who have young adult children with Autism and other developmental disabilities. When our 23 year old son came home from college at spring break, I put him in touch with Naina Chernoff to learn more about how Hire Autism could assist with his summer job search. Naina worked directly with our son to help him think about what types of opportunities he was interested in pursuing. Our son has learning difficulties and speech disfluency, but is diligent and hardworking and will receive his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management this year. Naina made several introductions on his behalf, and due to her outreach efforts, as well as her great mentorship and coaching, our son was able to work at a country club and gain direct hospitality experience. The club’s staff and management were wonderful and interested in providing employment opportunities for individual like our son, but hadn’t really thought about how to make that happen. The Hire Autism program was able to open that first door for our son. He gained valuable work experience and confidence over the summer, and I believe the club’s staff and members benefitted from have him as part of the team as well. We are very grateful to Naina and the staff at Hire Autism for all their help. Hire Autism opens doors!

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!