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Your OAR on the Autism Journey

by Mary Mazzoni on June 4, 2011

Metaphors and puns can be confusing for people with autism.  So, forgive the word play.  But when I think of OAR, the phrase “don’t go up the creek without a paddle” comes to mind.  That’s how valuable OAR is to families on the autism journey.

OAR is the Organization for Autism Research. It is the only autism organization that focuses solely on applied research.  What does this mean?  First, OAR funds sound research that addresses practical questions that have a genuine impact on the daily lives of people affected by autism.  Then, OAR provides user-friendly resources so that  people with autism, families, teachers and agency staff can understand and use research-validated interventions and supports.

In other words – OAR finds out what works and what matters – and then gets the word out in plain English.

Like everyone else, people on the spectrum need skills, opportunities and supports so they can build for themselves a rich and self-determined life.  OAR provides practical information about the most effective ways to learn, practice and apply these skills and supports.

OAR Resources

The Resources section on the OAR website is packed with practical information.

Life Journey Through Autism Series

In particular, the Life Journey Through Autism series is excellent.  It consists of free downloadable PDF documents that provide practical guidance to effective instruction and support.

Transition to Adulthood Guide

OAR’s  Guide for Transition to Adulthood is a truly valuable tool – especially when family, school and agencies use it together as a foundation for common understanding and the basis for collaborative efforts.  As a parent, you can introduce school and agency staff to this document and to the OAR website.  This is a great way to encourage a real team approach using shared resources.

Professor’s Guide to Understanding Asperger Syndrome-Video

OAR’s 12-minute video “Understanding Asperger Syndrome: A Professor’s Guide” can be downloaded from the site for free or purchased in DVD format for $5.  Produced by OAR in partnership with GRASP (Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Project) and PACE University, NYC,  this video is an effective, practical tool students can share with their professors as they disclose their disability and advocate for themselves.

OAR Conference

The annual OAR conference, which takes place near Washington DC, is a unique opportunity to talk face-to-face with applied researchers and practitioners from across the country.  Discounts are provided for people on the spectrum and their families.

Return to the site often.  OAR continually funds new research and develops new practical resources.  A monthly newsletter, the OARacle, is also published.

OAR is an essential partner for your child, your family, and the teachers and agency staff with whom you collaborate.  Don’t venture forth on the autism journey without OAR.

Comments?  Have you and your team worked together using OAR resources?  Has this helped promote a common understanding and more effective collaboration?  Do you have other suggestions for the autism journey?

Photo Credit:  leefis at stock.xchng

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