Organization for Autism Research

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To understand OAR is to understand the spirit in which OAR operates. These principles underlie everything OAR does. We provide this information as a statement of values and a simple means of “getting to know” OAR for anyone unfamiliar with the organization, its leadership, volunteers and staff.

Mission: OAR’s mission is to apply research to the challenges of autism.

The mission of “applying” research to answer questions of daily concern for those living with autism drives each of the goals and objectives that define OAR’s programs and determine its budget.

OAR’s defines applied research as research that directly impacts the day-to-day quality of life of learners 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.

In simplest terms, applied autism research is “practical research that examines issues and challenges that children and adults with autism and their families face everyday.”

OAR funds pilot studies and targeted research within specific modalities and issues affecting the autism community, primarily for studies whose outcomes offer new insights into the behavioral and social development of individuals with autism with an emphasis on communications, education, and vocational challenges. The identification of priorities for OAR’s research will be undertaken with focus groups comprised of parents, educators, clinicians, and leading authorities whose life work is the promotion of autism research and the dissemination of information to the autism community. Our immediate task is the creation of an overall strategy for research to address issues "across the lifespan." While OAR´s scope encompasses applied and biomedical research, its emphasis from the beginning is heavily weighted toward the applied. Read about the research studies OAR funds.

OAR’s programs revolve around funding new research and disseminating evidence-based information in a form that translates the technical into layman’s terms for the non-scientific consumer. The current programs are:

OAR sets challenging goals each year and has a growing record of accomplishments. Here are OAR’s goals for 2014:

  • Fund 10 applied research studies ($300,000) and 9 graduate student grants ($18,000)
  • Award 22 more scholarships to students with autism pursuing post-secondary education
  • Conduct the 12th RUN FOR AUTISM with a goal of raising $1 million for autism research
  • Disseminate evidence-based information through OAR’s Conference-on-the-Road program, the Web site, resource guides, and monthly e-newsletter
  • Publish a Life Journey through Autism guide that addresses personal safety issues across the lifespan
  • Expand use of the Kit for Kids peer education resource in school districts throughout the country; produce an interactive e-learning Web site for K-8 students
  • Deliver a model professional development curriculum for general educators based on the Understanding Autism DVD; partner with state departments of education to incorporate autism materials into mandatory teacher training

Help us meet these goals and more by making a donation now.