At ARI, we aim to objectively follow the science wherever it leads in the interest of improving the health and well-being of people with autism. Our founder asserted many hypotheses over the decades. His early theory that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder rather than a psychological one was controversial at first, but is now widely accepted. Other past hypotheses face ongoing, rigorous debate as science continues to emerge about this complex, multifactorial disorder.
Reviewing and critiquing findings when new information is available is a vital part of the scientific process and we feel it is important to encourage this practice in pursuit of relevant research. We know that there’s no one cause of autism and that research as of 2018 points to a combination of genetic and environmental influences. While autism tends to run in families, many questions remain regarding what risk factors lead to autism, particularly related to variability in gene expression and vulnerability to environmental risk factors.
The Autism Research Institute (ARI) conducts, sponsors and supports research on the underlying causes of and treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In order to provide parents and professionals with an independent, unbiased assessment of causal and treatment efficacy issues, ARI seeks no financial support from government agencies or drug manufacturers.
We therefore rely on the generosity of donors to continue to advance autism research. Our founder Dr. Bernard Rimland would often say, ‘Research that makes a difference!’ to remind us of the need to focus on what might be beneficial for people with ASDs here and now.