Established in 1967, the Autism Research Institute (ARI) is the world’s longest-standing organization dedicated to autism research. For more than half a century, we’ve worked to improve the quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum, their families, and the clinicians and researchers working on their behalf.
Thanks to generous donor support, we are continually expanding our work. Currently, our focus includes:
Understanding Coexisting Conditions
Today, many autism advocacy organizations are working hard to improve employment opportunities, housing options, and societal integration for individuals on the autism spectrum. These are crucial goals—but many individuals on the spectrum cannot benefit fully from the new avenues opening up to them because they struggle with co-occurring conditions including anxiety, depression, discomfort or pain caused by sensory sensitivities and medical issues, and sleep and eating disorders. ARI is working diligently to understand these conditions and find successful treatments for them, so we can enhance the lives of everyone on the spectrum.
Funding and Sharing Life-Changing Research
We now know that autism is a multi-faceted condition and that researchers need to approach it from many angles. This is why ARI funds research in a wide range of areas including:
- Gastrointestinal, immune, and metabolic function
- Auditory and visual impairments
- Sensory sensitivities
In addition, we offer a platform where our grant recipients can share their findings, networking an entire community of scientists specializing in autism research. Many of our efforts involve renowned institutions including UC Davis, UC San Francisco, Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, and Boston University. We are also active in organizing international, regional, and online science meetings.
Addressing Health and Behavioral Challenges
Individuals on the spectrum and their caregivers often deal with daunting challenges, ranging from sleep problems to self-injurious behavior to anxiety. Because addressing these challenges successfully often requires a multifactorial approach, ARI is currently publishing a series of books outlining powerful integrative interventions for each issue. To date, we have published books addressing anxiety, sleep disturbances, and self-harming behavior, and we plan to continue adding to this library.
In addition, ARI now offers an online app to assist parents and professionals in understanding and managing self-injurious behavior. We will soon launch a similar app geared toward sleep problems, followed by more releases targeting issues including anxiety and feeding problems.
ARI has always been at the forefront of knowledge dissemination. Currently, we offer dozens of online webinars each year, hosted by expert speakers who discuss current issues and cutting-edge research. These webinars, which are free, are open to autistic individuals, caregivers, and professionals.
Also, because in-depth instruction about autism is rare in medical training programs, we facilitate complimentary continuing medical education for clinicians. In addition, we host webinars tailored for healthcare professionals participating in our extensive global support network, which now includes more than 275 groups around the world.
Anticipating the Future Needs of an Aging Population
Historically, the autism community has focused largely on children and teens on the spectrum. ARI, however, recognizes the importance of directing attention toward the needs of adult seniors on the spectrum—that is, those aged 50 and above, who are likely to require extensive support and guidance. ARI played a key role in co-sponsoring one of the first think tank meetings on senior issues, bringing together Autistic seniors and experts from a diverse range of fields, and we will continue to focus on this critical and under-acknowledged area.
Informing the Public About Autism
This year, we opened ARI’s National Autism History Museum. Through dynamic displays and multimedia presentations, the museum aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about autism by highlighting the strengths, talents, and challenges experienced by individuals on the spectrum. Our goal is to contribute to the creation of a more inclusive society that embraces neurodiversity and advocates for the rights and needs of autistic individuals.
Can you help? For more than half a century, ARI has depended on donations from generous people like you who care about the well-being of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. We are grateful to all of you, and we hope that you can help us continue our important work to improve the quality of life for everyone on the spectrum. Thank you for your support! Give now