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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.

Programs: Research: research encompassed the work of oar's scientific council as it pertains to the direction and selection of oar-funded research studies, funding research and general oversight of the research program.

information: informed and provided evidence-based resources for parents, families, educators, and other consumers in the autism community. The major components are: oar's web site, www. Researchautism. Org; the oaracle, oar's monthly e-newsletter; the "life journey through autism" series, consisting of eight community-friendly autism resource guides; the military families initiative, operation autism, www. Operationautismonline. Org; and the "autism in the school house" initiative.

education: formal structured educational forums and formats, such as conferences, seminars, and workshops on a specific topic or theme and web-based or printed materials designed along the same lines, and college/vocational scholarships for persons with autism. The primary vehicle is the conference-on-the-road program through which oar partners with selected autism organizations that host a conference to provide autism research and subject matter experts presenting on topics of high interest to the autism community. Oar conducted three in fy2015.

Community Stories

74 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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!

1 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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My name is Ed Klusman. My experience with OAR has been fantastic. I first became acquainted with OAR as a father of a son with autism. My son Alex is a junior at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. We found out about OAR through the disability office at Oakland. They suggested that Alex might qualify for a scholarship through OAR, in this case the Schwallie Family Scholarship. We looked it up on the OAR website, and then contacted the organization. Everyone at OAR was great, friendly, helpful, and professional. Wendy McKinnon was such a great help, and answered so many questions for both Alex and I. Alex was excited to apply, and to write the essays about the challenges he has faced, school plans, accomplishments, and future plans. The support from OAR staff was exceptional through out the process. Alex was so proud when he was informed that he was one of the students awarded the scholarship. OAR is an outstanding organization, and has my familie's gratitude. We will be ongoing supporters of OAR and the incredible work they do. Keep up the great work!

Connie Anderson

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

OAR is a phenomenal organization, one that focuses on autism research that will prove useful to individuals on the spectrum and their families in the real world. Thanks to OAR's generosity, I am currently conducting a study on outcomes for young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that will provide insights into what is happening in the community "once the big yellow bus stops coming." Beyond funding research that makes a difference, OAR reaches out to families and service providers, offering insightful materials that I, as a professor, have often shared with colleagues, students, and families. I especially recommend the "Life Journey Through Autism" series!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son was awarded a scholarship from OAR. This nonprofit is investing in young adults who are not able to attend a regular university but desire a collegiate experience. Scholarships for this sector of society are almost nonexistant. They were helpful during the application process. The Executive Director called my son personally to congratulate him on being selected. We are so blessed by their support.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are thrilled to work with OAR and to be able to share their incredible resources with our families. We are grateful to them for partnering with us on our major two-day conference in Cleveland, and for all the incredible work that they are doing to serve the autism community.