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This post looks at some of the most notable autism organizations in the world. Over the years the following organizations have supported research efforts, promoted advocacy of issues, and have raised awareness of the disorder.

Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 by Bob Wright, the vice chairman of General Electric, and his wife Suzanne. The pair decided to start the organization after learning that one of their grandchildren was diagnosed with autism. Over the years the organization has become one of the best-known autism advocacy organizations. Shortly after its founding, the organization merged with National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), one of the first nonprofit organizations in the US to fund autism research. The organization has faced controversy for its view that autism is a disease and for its support of research into the connection between autism and vaccines.

Autism Science Foundation

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) was founded by Alison Tepper Singer and Karen Margulis London. Singer and London both have children with autism and were involved with Autism Speaks. After Autism Speaks decided to pursue the link between vaccines and autism, the pair left the organization and formed the Autism Science Foundation in 2009. ASF understands that there is a finite amount of research money available and raising money can be difficult. Therefore, the organization has adopted three important principles that guide their contribution to autism research. Since 2014 ASF has held an event called Day of Learning. The event is described as a “TED-style science conference” that features presentations from some of the world’s top autism researchers (Source).

Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute (ARI) was founded in 1967 by Bernard Rimland, a research psychologist. Most of the organization’s funding comes from donations rather than the government or the pharmaceutical industry. ARI believes this approach keeps their work unbiased. In 1995 ARI created a controversial program called Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!). The program advocated a number of alternative treatments and believed that vaccines caused the disorder. DAN! was eventually discontinued in 2012.

Easter Seals

Easter Seals was originally founded as the National Society for Crippled Children in 1919. The organization eventually changed its name to Easter Seals, a reference to a successful campaign it launched, and began to assist adults with disabilities. Visit this link to view the full list of Easter Seals’ services. The organization’s autism services include preschool, in-school services for youth, and job training for adults.