Autism Society of America (ASA)

The Autism Society of America (ASA) is one of the most prominent organizations dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and their families. Founded in 1965, the ASA has been a leading force in advocating for autism awareness, providing resources, and promoting research and education. This article delves into the history, mission, programs, and impact of the Autism Society of America, offering valuable insights for families, educators, and professionals involved in autism care and therapy.

History of the Autism Society of America

The Autism Society of America was established in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Ruth C. Sullivan, and a group of parents who were seeking better support and resources for their children with autism. At a time when autism was largely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed, the founders aimed to create an organization that would offer accurate information, support, and advocacy for the autism community.

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Autism Society of America is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. The organization envisions a world where individuals with autism can lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, fully integrated into society. The ASA aims to achieve this through advocacy, education, information, referral, support, and community building.

Key Programs and Services

The Autism Society of America offers a wide range of programs and services designed to support individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who work with them. Some of the key programs include:

National Autism Helpline

The ASA operates a national helpline that provides information and resources to individuals with autism and their families. The helpline is staffed by trained professionals who can offer support and guidance on various topics, including diagnosis, treatment options, and educational resources.

Advocacy and Public Policy

The ASA is actively involved in advocacy and public policy efforts to promote the rights and interests of individuals with autism. The organization works with lawmakers, government agencies, and other stakeholders to influence legislation and policies that impact the autism community. Key areas of focus include healthcare, education, employment, and housing.

Education and Training

The ASA provides a variety of educational resources and training programs for individuals with autism, their families, educators, and healthcare professionals. These programs include workshops, webinars, conferences, and online courses that cover a wide range of topics related to autism.

Autism Society Chapters

The ASA has a network of local chapters across the United States that provide support and resources at the community level. These chapters offer a variety of services, including support groups, social activities, educational programs, and advocacy efforts.

Research and Grants

The ASA supports research on autism through grants and funding opportunities. The organization is committed to advancing scientific understanding of autism and improving treatment options and outcomes for individuals with autism.

Impact and Achievements

Over the years, the Autism Society of America has made significant contributions to the autism community. Some of the key achievements and impacts include:

  • Increased Awareness: The ASA has played a crucial role in raising awareness about autism and promoting understanding and acceptance of individuals with autism.
  • Legislative Successes: The ASA’s advocacy efforts have led to important legislative victories, including the passage of the Autism CARES Act, which provides funding for autism research and services.
  • Improved Support Services: The ASA’s programs and services have provided critical support to countless individuals with autism and their families, helping them navigate the challenges of autism and access the resources they need.

How to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the Autism Society of America and support their mission. Some of the ways to get involved include:

  • Become a Member: Joining the ASA as a member provides access to valuable resources and helps support the organization’s programs and advocacy efforts.
  • Volunteer: The ASA offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, including helping at local chapter events, assisting with fundraising efforts, and participating in advocacy campaigns.
  • Donate: Financial contributions help the ASA continue its important work and expand its programs and services. Donations can be made online, by mail, or through planned giving options.
  • Participate in Events: The ASA hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including walks, conferences, and awareness campaigns. Participating in these events is a great way to support the organization and connect with others in the autism community.


The Autism Society of America is a vital organization that has made a profound impact on the lives of individuals with autism and their families. Through its comprehensive programs and services, the ASA provides essential support, promotes awareness, and advocates for the rights and interests of the autism community. By getting involved and supporting the ASA, individuals can help further its mission and contribute to a more inclusive and supportive world for those affected by autism.

For more information about the Autism Society of America and how you can get involved, visit their official website at

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