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The Autism Research Institute was established by Dr. Bernard Rimland in 1967. Dr. Rimland is the author of the groundbreaking book Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior which dispelled the myth of the "refrigerator mother." Before researchers like Dr. Rimland, most believed that autism was an emotional disorder caused by a cold and distant relationship between mother and child. Now we know that autism is fundamentally a neurological brain disorder because of such pioneers as Dr. Rimland and through research developed on sites like the Autism Research Institute. The Autism Research Institute is dedicated to continuing its research into the field of autism with the conviction that autistic disorder is treatable with the appropriate interventions. The organization is responsible to gathering data about current autism research and extending it to professionals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders.
The Autism Society of America foundation was founded by Dr. Bernard Rimland, the same doctor who founded the Autism Research Institute. The ASA was established in 1965 and was Dr. Rimland's first organization. The ASA foundation was originally comprised of parents but membership has spread to professionals and concerned citizens as well. The ASA foundation is dedicated to educating the public about autism and pervasive developmental disorders. It funds research projects and supports services for people in the community who are affected by autism. Each year, the Autism Society of America presents awards that recognize outstanding individuals within the autism community. The foundation also offers scholarships as well.
The Arc is a national community-based organization which provides services and support for families of and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those dealing with autism spectrum disorders. There are local chapters which range in size from small, volunteer supported groups to large multi-million dollar organizations. The web address is www.thearc.org. There, you can locate your local Arc chapter. In many chapters, there are advocates can walk you through the process of placing your child on appropriate waiting lists to receive funding for services such as respite care and therapies. Chapters in larger cities will be able to provide more services including daycare for adults with special needs and after-school and summer programs for children and youth.