Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) rates in the United States continue to climb. ASD is a developmental disorder that impairs an individual’s ability to communicate and engage socially with others.
Those diagnosed with ASD may also have difficulty learning and experience heightened sensitivity to sensations. Luckily, early diagnosis and intervention can help those on the autism spectrum improve their social, communication, and learning skills.
Thankfully, there are many charities that are designed to help those struggling with Autism.
Below, we have listed 25 of the best autism charities in the US.
Organization for Autism Research (OAR)
The Organization for Autism Research (OAR), “strives to use science to address the social, educational, and treatment concerns of self-advocates, autism professionals, and caregivers.” Based in Arlington, VA, OAR provides educational resources for siblings, parents, and educators. This charity also supports individuals on the autism spectrum through college scholarships, self-advocacy support, and an employer portal for those interested in employing those on the spectrum.
Over 80% of OAR’s financial resources are used to support programs for individuals on the autism spectrum. This organization not only provides direct support for college students struggling with an ASD diagnosis, but they also provide grants to help teachers teach others about autism spectrum disorders. Adults diagnosed with ASD will also find resources designed to help them develop a resume, write a cover letter, and complete job applications and job searches.
The Asperger/Autism Network
Based in Watertown, MA, The Asperger-Autism Network (AANE) works with families, individuals, and professionals to provide support for individuals struggling with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
This network provides education, information, advocacy, and community sorrow surrounding ASD and other neurological diagnoses. Founded in 1996, AANE was one of the first Asperger focused organizations in the US. The AANE website provides resources for adults struggling with ASD, family and friends of those on the spectrum, and educators, employers, therapists, and others who work with individuals on the autism spectrum.
The Autism Community in Action
Located in Irvine, CA, The Autism Community in Action (TACA) is a US-based nonprofit charity. TACA’s mission statement is to, “provide education, support and hope to families living with autism.” Their vision statement is to support every individual diagnosed with autism in leading an independent life. TACA provides resources, education, and support for individuals and family members of those living on the spectrum.
TACA has chapters across the US that hold autism learning seminars, family events, meetings, and Coffee Talks. This charity is a great resource for helping individuals and families dealing with ASD to maintain a sense of community.
The Autism Society of America
The Autism Society of America located in Rockville, MD, is a grass-roots organization that offers person-to-person community-based support through chapters located throughout the US. The Autism Society of America was founded in 1965 and spends almost 80% of its financial resources on programs designed to support those struggling with ASD.
This charity provides educational information for those interested in obtaining a better understanding of Aspergers and Autism. Individuals will find information on interventions and therapeutic options, autism through the lifespan, and how to navigate services as well as information on legal resources, employment, and legislation.
The Autism National Committee
The Autism National Committee (AUTCOM), based in Burlington, Vt is dedicated to, “Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism.” Founded in 1990, AUTCOM produces a regular newsletter called The Communicator and provides access to educational information related to autism and social justice.
AUTCOM’s website provides access to educational position pages, other links related to autism, and autism articles related to issues of interest to individuals, families, and professionals interested in supporting those on the autism spectrum.
Autism Research Institute
The Autism Research Institute (ARI) was founded in 1967, “To support the health and well-being of people affected by autism through innovative, impactful research and education.” This charity was created with the intention of conducting and supporting scientific research related to autism spectrum disorders. ARI’s website offers educational information regarding symptoms, prognosis, prenatal factors, and interventions.
The website also provides access to diagnostic checklists and ARI supported research. Those interested in participating in autism-related research can find information regarding ongoing research on the site. Professionals working in the field can also find information regarding research grant opportunities on the charity’s website.
The Autism Science Foundation
The Autism Science Foundation, based in New York, NY, provides support and funding to those conducting scientific research related to autism. This organization also provides educational resources to families, communities, and individuals on the autism spectrum. Founded in 2009, this organization is committed to supporting and providing access to the highest quality research on autism-related issues.
In 2018, this foundation provided over $350,000 funding for autism research at the pre-doctorate, post doctorate, undergraduate, and collaborative consortium activity levels. The foundation’s website provides resources for grant seekers, families, and siblings of those on the autism spectrum. Information related to ASD, symptoms, diagnoses, treatment options, the use of medical marijuana for individuals on the autism spectrum, and the relationship between autism and vaccines can also be found on the foundation’s website.
Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism based in Farmington, MA works to improve the quality of life of those impacted by autism by working in seven key areas. These areas or dimensions are stated by the foundations, “A Day in the Life.”
The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation espouses the belief that “People and families affected by autism deserve to be:”
The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation provides financial support for families by offering camp scholarships. They also provide support for the safety of autistic children by covering the costs of a SafetyNetBracelet and offering family support through Joe’s Fund. Joey’s Fund can be used by families to cover the costs of art classes, horseback riding lessons, camp tuition, and respite care to support an improved quality of life of children on the spectrum and their families.
Have Dreams based in Park Ridge, IL was formed in 1996. This organization strives to help people on the autism spectrum learn to function independently and, “socialize, so they may realize their full potential and develop into contributing members of their communities.”
Have Dreams offers after school and weekend programs for elementary, middle-school-aged kids, and teens. They also offer an array of programs for adults living on the autism spectrum and training opportunities for professionals, employers, educators, and family members.
The Miracle Project
Based in Beverly Hills, CA, The Miracle Project, develops and provides musical theater, film, social skill development, and expressive arts programs for individuals dealing with autism spectrum disorders. The Miracle Project provides the opportunity to share creative peer-to-peer experiences and encourages individuals on the autism spectrum to develop improved self-awareness, confidence, communication skills, social and employment skills using creative expression.
Those interested in participating in The Miracle Project can find programs for those aged 5 years through adulthood. This organization also offers training and workshops for schools.
National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society (NAA) uses six areas to achieve its mission, “to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community…” The areas NAA identifies are:
- Direct tools
- Thoughtful awareness
NAA programs include:
- Autism ATRIUM Webinars
- Autism ATRIUM Digital Library
- NAA’s Big Red Safety Box
- NAA’s Big Red Saftey Teacher’s Toolkit
- NAA’s Give a Voice Program
- Meet the Police
- Progress Research
- NAA’s Autism Safety Site
- NAA’s AWAARE Site
NAA’s website provides information regarding signs of autism, facts associated with ASD, the importance of early intervention, dietary interventions that those on the autism spectrum may find helpful, discussion of medical interventions, and information regarding therapeutic approaches families may wish to consider to help their autistic child. Interested parents can also locate downloadable resources to help with a wide range of issues. There are resources provided for dealing with the IEP process, supporting your ASD child’s siblings, and educating your child’s grandparents.
NEXT for AUTISM
Based in New York, NY, NEXT for AUTISM works toward three specific goals. This organization seeks to:
- Create and support high-quality programs designed to maximize the potential of individuals living with autism across their lifetime.
- Ensure that individuals living with autism and their families are positively integrated into their communities.
- Expand services to individuals living on the autism spectrum by coordinating services across disciplines and agencies and encouraging the spread of expertise in this area.
The NEXT for AUTISM website offers an array of resources and blogs associated with education, community, families, and adults living with autism. Over 82% of this organization’s expenses go toward programs designed to support those living with ASD.
Autism Helping Autism
Autism Helping Autism based in Loveland, CO focuses on helping high functioning youth and young adults transition into the world by teaching daily living skills, independence, and supporting job placement.
Autism Allies based in Buffalo, MN, provides a wide range of programs for those on the autism spectrum. Autism Allies Center-Based Programs include:
- An intensive day program for children aged 0 to 6.
- An after school program for children ages 5 to 17.
Other programs provided include:
- Social skills groups overseen by Board-Certified Behavior Analysts
- In-Home Therapy
- Community programs
Autism Speaks, based in New York, NY, is dedicated to “promoting solutions across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan for the needs of people with autism and their families.” Autism Speaks seeks to fulfill its mission by:
- Increasing understanding and acceptance of those living on the autism spectrum.
- Supporting life-enhancing research.
- Improving the ease of transition of those living on the autism spectrum into adult life.
- Increasing early childhood screening and interventions for those living with autism.
- Ensuring access to reliable information and age-appropriate services.
This organization spends over 75% of its yearly expenses on program expenses.
Autism Angels, based in Nutley, NJ is a non-profit organization created by parents of a child on the autism spectrum. This organization proposes to assist economically disadvantaged parents with educational information and resources.
One World for Autism
Based in Lanham, MA, One World for Autism, was founded in 2007 as a coalition of parents, educators, therapists, medical providers, and community residents focused on improving the lives and outcomes of those living on the autism spectrum and residing in Prince George’s County, Maryland. This organization provides:
- social skills groups for teens
- healthy relationships groups for teens and adults
- family support services.
The One World for Autism website offers information regarding:
- Behavioral and relational resources
- Financial support resources
- Medical center information
- Autism resources in Prince Georges’ County
- Autism resources in the state of Maryland
- National resources for autism
Balance Autism, based in Altoona, IA, espouses their mission, “to develop and implement solutions to engage people with autism. This organization bases their mission on the core values of:
- Passionate care about people and autism
- Active engagement
- Data-driven information
Balance Autism offers balanced children’s services, social skills groups, parent training, and a youth home.
Alpine Autism Center
Alpine Autism Center, based in Colorado Springs, CO, is a private non-profit treatment facility for children diagnosed with ASD. This organization was founded in 2005 and offers Board Certified Behavior Analysis and In-home care. Alpine Autism Center offers:
- full-day programs
- half-day programs
- Consultation and representation at IEP meetings
- Day habilitation for individuals over the age of 18
- Home-based Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy
The Autism Project
Founded in 1997, The Autism Project (TAP) focuses on children and young adults diagnosed with ASD. Established as a collective of parents, professionals, and community members, TAP provides support for families, social groups for individuals diagnosed with autism, and a summer camp program. The TAP website offers educational resources in the form of information sheets and took kits. TAP also provides continuing education opportunities for professionals and parents and consultations for agencies and school organizations.
Autism Services Inc
Autism Services Inc, based in Amherst, NY, focuses its efforts on, empowering people with autism to be themselves at home and in their community. Autism Services, Inc offers a wide range of services. They offer residential services, adult day services, and employment support services. The organization also provides Physical Therapy Services, Speech Therapy Services, and Occupational Therapy Services. There are family support services provided in the way of after-school programs, vacation camps, respite services, and Saturday Therapeutic Recreational opportunities.
Aceing Autism Inc
Aceing Autism, Inc supports children on the autism spectrum to grow physically and socially through affordable tennis programming. Founded in Boston, MA in 2008, this organization was created with the intention of using the sport of tennis as a way to provide social and developmental benefits to children diagnosed with ASD. This organization has 73 programs in 29 states and has served over 1300 children since its inception.
Chattanooga Autism Center
The Chattanooga Autism Center (CAC), based in Chattanooga, TN, offers a wide range of programs and services for individuals on the autism spectrum and their family members. CAC provides clinical services to those living with autism through its outpatient clinic.
CAC also offers a music therapy program called Ascending Scales, a support group for parents, and a summer learning program. The CAC website offers information about regional resources for:
- Therapeutic care
- Medical care
- Recreational opportunities, and many other support services.
Gha Autism Supports
Gha Autism Supports serves individuals living on the autism spectrum from across the state of North Carolina. Based in Albemarle, NC, Gha Autism Supports was formed when a group of parents gathered together in 1978 to secure funding for a residence for their autistic children. This organization has grown to provide educational, residential, and vocational services to nearly 100 individuals at any given time. Gha Autism Supports provides services for individuals diagnosed with ASD from childhood through their lifespan.
Gha Autism Supports expresses its commitment to:
- Valuing the uniqueness of the individuals it supports
- Involving the individuals it supports in making their own decisions and directing their own lives
- Nurturing personal growth and the dignity of those they serve
- Supporting those thy support in building relationships with local communities
Avenues for Autism
Based in Toledo, OH, Avenues for Autism expresses their mission as, “to expand opportunities to enrich the lives of individuals and families affected by autism.” The organization indicates that its mission is based on the values of:
Programs supported by Avenues for Autism include the Suzanne Tyner Autism Fund that provides support for families struggling to pay for autism services. This program provides support for:
- Early interventions
- Testing and assessment
- Programs designed to build social skills
- College support programs
- Recreational activities
- The purchase of tough devices
- Programs designed to help those diagnosed with ASD transition to employment