Founded in 1950, The Arc supports families supportive of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Arc has been instrumental in passing state and federal legislation regarding individuals with disabilities. Their broad network includes state and local chapters.
Autism Speaks is one of today’s leading groups addressing autism. Their website is dynamic providing a broad array of information and activism opportunities. They have autism checklists, a toolkit, resource guides, and much more. Autism Speaks has walks in cities across the country to raise money and awareness for this important cause. Sometimes this organization has been controversial, but they remain a potent force for parents and individuals with autism to be heard.
Autism Research Institute (ARI) was built on the principals founded by Dr. Bernard Rimland, a pioneer in Autism. ARI keeps you abreast of research studies, initiatives and health issues surrounding Autism. The website presents a wealth of information and resources. Included are videos and conference presentations about the most current autism issues. The site also provides various assessment tools. Parents might find solutions to their child’s individual difficulties like sleeplessness, self-injurious behavior, autism in adulthood, or how to encourage better eye contact. Like all the other sites, do not attempt medical interventions without talking to you child’s pediatrician or physician.
The Autism Society, founded in 1965 by Dr. Bernard Rimland, Dr. Ruth Sullivan and parents of children with autism is the “leading source of trusted and reliable information about autism.” They have “spearheaded numerous pieces of state and local legislation, including the 2006 Combating Autism Act, the first federal autism-specific law.” The Autism Society provides a quarterly journal called Autism Advocate and they sponsor a national conference about autism once a year. The organization and chapters across the country serves families searching for support in this area.
The National Autism Association (NAA) provides family support. They have local chapters and many resources including a recommended reading list. There are discussions about treatment and safety. They also have programs like Helping Hand to provide grants for financial assistance for medical needs, Big Red Sagety Boxes, and Give a Voice to provide qualifying individuals with communication devices. As noted on their website, parents should talk to their doctor before attempting any medical intervention suggested on the site.
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides assistance for families when children are first diagnosed with Autism. There are other resources as well as volunteer opportunities. TACA believes in medical treatment and connecting with families. TACA has a physician advisory board, but be sure and still discuss any treatment with your personal pediatrician or physician before attempting.
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder is a statewide clearinghouse of disability-related resources and multilingual helpline. Autism TN used to be the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee. Autism Tennessee offers bi-monthly autism orientation classes, monthly autism education classes, community lending library (resources available in Spanish), Sib Saturday (social support group for siblings), and information about local support groups & community workshops. Workshops are free to Autism Tennessee members; please contact for information about membership. Several support groups are listed on Autism Tennessee’s website, including county groups and others related to autism such as Celiac Support Group. The counties in Tennessee that are served include the following: Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Davidson, Dekalb, Dickson, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Perry, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, Wilson
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development is to find discoveries and best practices that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families. They are dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities by embracing core values that include:
• the pursuit of scientific knowledge with creativity and purpose
• the dissemination of information to scientists, practitioners, families, and community leaders
• the facilitation of discovery by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center scientists
• the translation of knowledge into practice
Services are offered to people with disabilities, families, educators and healthcare and other service providers. Programs apply the latest knowledge obtained through disabilities research and provide service models.
Special Reports or Blog Entry
April is Autism Awareness Month by Kathryn Porter
You’re Going to Love This Kid!: Teaching Children with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom by Paula Kluth