The Organization for Autism Research was formed by parents and grandparents of children and adults with autism in December 2001. Recognizing that autism affects over 2.6 million individuals in the United States alone, these founding Board members wanted to create a research foundation that would focus on practical research for the generation of people living with autism today. OAR, born of this vision, seeks to use applied research to help with the challenges parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers and caregivers confront every day.
With this mission always in mind, OAR stimulates and funds research that offers practical insight and outcomes related to autism treatment, education, and research, and also provides the autism community with resources and information programs based on this applied research. In its first 14 years, OAR has awarded more than $3.3 million in grants, funding 184 applied research pilot studies and graduate studies related to autism.
OAR has also published eight community-friendly resource guides in its Life Journey Through Autism guide 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 and A Guide to Safety.
Its most recent initiatives include the "Autism in the Schoolhouse", "Sibling Support", and "Adult Employment" initiatives. The first is aimed at educating peers about classmates with autism and providing resources, tips, and tools for teachers with students with autism in their classes. The next addresses siblings issues and education with separate resources for parents, teen siblings, and younger siblings. And, the Adult Employment initiative will center around a jobs portal presently under development that will launch later in 2015. Its objective is to match job seekers with autism in meaningful jobs with supportive businesses and employers.