There are quite a few charities in the United States that cater to the autistic community and their families.
To help you choose the nonprofit that best suits your needs, we compiled a list of 20 great autism charities in the U.S.
Whether you’re a parent of a child that has autism, an autistic adult, or a professional that works in related fields, this list will certainly give you a helping hand.
The Art of Autism
Headquartered in Fallbrook, California, the Art of Autism is a nonprofit organization that supports autistic writers, artists, and videographers.
This charity provides different forms of aid. While they mainly help autistic artists connect with each other, they also offer educational resources and newsletters that are valuable to families.
Just as important is that they assist artists with making money and selling their artwork.
The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)
The Asperger/Autism Network caters to those that have autism spectrum disorder and Asperger’s, regardless of their age. The organization works with parents, carers, school teachers, and even adult couples.
AANE offers educational resources and programs. They also host community events and advocate for legislative changes that benefit people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Association for Science in Autistic Treatment (ASAT)
Parents, educators, and medical professionals can all find valuable resources through the Association for Science in Autistic Treatment.
ASAT provides the following tools to aid autistic individuals, their families, and educators:
- An outline of the most efficient psychological and biomedical treatments, as well as information about unproven methods and the ones that still require more scientific evidence.
- A list of organizations that guide autistic people in their life journeys, including help with housing, employment, and higher-education.
- Different guides and types of practical advice that are specifically geared towards school teachers and university faculty members.
- Articles and reading materials about different autism-related topics.
- Access to medical research and practitioner guides that are greatly beneficial for medical professionals.
The Autism Community in Action (TACA)
If you are looking for comprehensive tools and resources, the Autism Community in Action has some of the best in the country.
TACA’s local chapters are active in more than 25 states. They regularly host meetings, seminars, and family events.
Equally as important are their conferences and webinars. Leading autism experts attend TACA’s digital and in-person events to discuss a wide range of topics that are related to education, medicine, psychological treatments, and advocacy.
TACA also offers the following:
- Online support groups.
- Mentoring programs for parents.
- Parent and family resources.
- Different types of scholarships.
Autism Connect Association
This organization specifically focuses on helping the families of autistic individuals. For a start, you can access a list of reliable support groups and therapists that are in your local area.
Similarly, Autism Connect equips parents and autistic individuals with apps, books, podcasts, therapeutic accessories/toys, and videos. Moreover, this entity hosts family workshops and conferences.
Autism Key is a parent-run news organization. In other words, it is run by people who have practical knowledge of the challenges and shortcomings that autistic individuals (and their families) face.
Throughout the years, their articles, news stories, and multimedia content provided valuable information about autism. The topics that they cover range from parenting and safety to music, faith, and sports.
The Autism National Committee
This charity is unique because of their focus on advocacy and public policy. They also host the annual AutCom Conference, and this year’s theme is “Understanding Intersectionality — Achieving Equity”.
Nevertheless, the Autism National Committee has other resources that individuals and families can benefit from, including books and articles.
Autism Research Institute (ARI)
During the last 10 years, the Autism Research Institute awarded researchers with over 100 grants.
ARI’s goal is to support families, educators, and professionals. They fund objective and unbiased research efforts that focus on identifying efficient autism treatments.
The Autism Science Foundation (ASF)
This is another charity that is specifically centered around funding research efforts. The Autism Science Foundation works with scientists and research organizations that specialize in autism-related topics.
ASF has student clubs in certain high schools and universities. Their other resources include books and reading materials for the parents and siblings of autistic individuals.
Autism Society of America
Since 1965, the Autism Society of America has offered a range of services and events that people from across the country have benefited from.
Here are some of the programs that the Autism Society provides:
- Events: About 1,000 people attend the organization’s national conference. The event is useful to medical professionals and families alike.
- Autism Source: This is one of the largest online reading databases, and it includes different types of autism-related content.
- Public Policy: The Autism Society has an expanded national network that allowed them to influence legislative changes on the federal and state levels.
- National Contact Center: By calling 1-800-3-AUTISM, families and individuals can get assistance with discovering the right treatment options.
Autism Speaks is a charity that helps autistic individuals and their families find lifelong solutions. The organization also engages in public advocacy. For instance, they successfully played a role in expanding autism insurance coverage.
In the same vein, they raised millions of dollars for grants and scholarships. Their educational toolkits and online database were used by millions of individuals.
Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
As an advocacy group, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is a grassroots organization that promotes the rights of individuals who are diagnosed with autism.
Apart from being a public advocate, ASAN’s website has many books, toolkits, and reading materials that can educate families, teachers, and others about a variety of autism-related topics.
Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
If you have a family member or relative who was diagnosed with autism and is struggling financially, the Flutie Foundation can assist them.
The charity offers three funding programs:
- Joey’s Fund/Hope Fund: This grant covers a variety of expenses, ranging from buying books about autism to financial backing for music or art classes.
- Camp Scholarships: Every summer, the Flutie Foundation hosts the Fun in the Sun water sports camp for autistic kids and adults. The scholarship covers many of the associated costs.
- Safe & Secure: Since some autistic individuals have a problem with wandering around unmonitored, the Safe & Secure program will purchase a monitoring bracelet for parents and caregivers. This tool can be especially helpful in emergency situations.
Madison House Autism Foundation
Madison House specifically caters to adults who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Their Autism After 21 movement is designed to spearhead a national conversation about the challenges that autistic adults face.
Other than that, Madison House has programs that help individuals with finding housing, attending college, and/or embarking on a career path in multiple fields.
The May Institute is a nonprofit that prioritizes education and rehabilitation. Although they are headquartered in Massachusetts, the organization has over 140 locations across the U.S. that serve autistic individuals and their families.
Here are the main types of accommodations that the May Institute offers:
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Whether its an infant, school-aged child, or an adult, the May Institute’s ABA services can provide autistic individuals with the therapeutic treatments that they need.
- Autism schools: In the same vein, the organization deploys ABA techniques in their full-day schools that are open throughout the year. The May Institute currently has four school locations in the U.S.
- Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS): This charity’s professionals will visit schools in-person. In fact, they work with entire school districts on how to efficiently cater to the needs of students that have autism.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the May Institute has a service arm that specifically assists autistic adults.
The Miracle Project
Autistic people who are passionate about theater and arts can look to the Miracle Project for support.
They have a variety of online and in-person classes that help individuals grow their artistic skills, enhance their self-confidence, and find a community of other autistic people with similar passions and interests.
Nancy Laurie Marks (NLM) Family Foundation
This charity is all about advancing a science-centric approach to autism. The NLM Family Foundation’s Recreation and Community Relations Program is designed for middle-aged and older autistic individuals who want to participate in social events, such as golf and bowling.
Similarly, the NLM Family Foundation provides funding to different science-based studies across the world. They work with the Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford University, and others.
Their areas of focus include research, clinical care, education, and public advocacy.
NEXT for AUTISM
Rather than concentrate on research, NEXT for AUTISM’s programs are specifically designed to financially back autistic individuals and their families. Moreover, their services can come in handy for people who have autism, regardless of their age or life stage.
NEXT for AUTISM partners with different organizations, hospitals, and universities to develop treatment strategies.
The charity offers three types of grants that autistic individuals who are transitioning to adulthood can directly apply for:
- Home: These funds are designed to enhance the housing quality and residential environment that adults with autism live in.
- Work: The grants are for unemployed and underemployed autistic people who want to find a job and/or high-paying work opportunities.
- Social: Whether an autistic adult wants to join a group, make new friends, or improve their social skills, these grants are there to aid them.
Organization for Autism Research (OAR)
The Organization for Autism Research is another entity that directly offers grants to autistic individuals and their families. OAR also publishes and distributes informative reading materials about autism.
Their main focus is on research, education, and employment. Throughout the years, OAR helped children, adults, and even military members who have autism.
While many other charities focus on parenting, OAR’s “Autism Sibling Support” initiative assists children and teenagers with fostering healthy relationships with their autistic brothers or sisters.
For more than 20 years, Unlocking Autism has worked with a host of charities and organizations on educating the public about autism. The policy initiatives that they concentrate on fall under four categories:
- Disaster Planning
- Medicaid Reform
- Criminal Justice
- The Foster Care System
Equally as important is that Unlocking Autism acts as a community where autistic people can share their experiences and connect with others.
Choosing the Right Charity
The best thing about this list is that it includes organizations that offer comprehensive services. This includes educational resources, financial backing, and both online and offline events.
Whether you’re worried about an autistic child or need guidance in transitioning to adulthood, you can work with one or more of the above organizations to find what you’re looking for.