Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

According to the CDC, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

  • If your child is on the spectrum, he might show some social symptoms by the time he’s 8 to 10 months old. These may include any of the following:

    He can’t respond to his name by his first birthday.
    Playing, sharing, or talking with other people doesn’t interest him.
    He prefers to be alone.
    He avoids or rejects physical contact.
    He avoids eye contact.
    When he’s upset, he doesn’t like to be comforted.
    He doesn’t understand emotions -- his own or others’.
    He may not stretch out his arms to be picked up or guided with walking.



Volunteering can make all the difference in someone’s life and show support to families impacted by autism. There are countless ways to get involved!

  • Autism Votes, an Autism Speaks Initiative, offers many ways to get involved in the autism community. Get involved in a walk, fundraising events, or add your voice to legislation that affects people with autism
  • The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation makes it simple to sign up and become an active advocate for autism. ASDF programs are developed to make sure that support goes directly to the families dealing with the everyday challenges and financial difficulties that come with raising an autistic child.
  • The Autism Science Foundation offers unique ways to get involved. From attending an event to raise awareness, to student clubs, to livestreaming chats with researchers and scientists, and even offering open jobs and internships at the Autism Science Foundation.
  • The Autism Society and AMC theaters have teamed up to create “Sensory Friendly Films.” This experience offers children with autism a chance to attend the movies in a safe and autism-focused environment. The Autism Society has created numerous projects like this one.

Share Your Story

Inspire and educate others by sharing your personal journey. Share your autism stories here.


Any donation makes an impact. A monthly or one-time donation can make all the difference to these organizations that help individuals and families affected by Autism.

  • The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation has a complete list of all the programs that benefit children with autism. Every generous donation provides funding to one of these programs, which are designed to meet the specific needs of families affected by autism.
  • Autism Speaks has one-time or monthly donation setups to help fund their research and campaigns to raise awareness. These donations can also be personalized in the name of a loved one.
  • Madison House Autism Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to transform communities across the country in order to ensure that adults with autism find inclusive, diverse opportunities to participate and contribute.
  • The Autism Science Foundation provides funding to 10 other research organizations, as well as their own autism research to support innovative scientific research that is leading to a greater understanding of what causes autism and how it can best be treated.

Autism Caregiving and Support

  • Autism Empowerment: an organization devoted to enriching and empowering the lives of youth, adults and families within the Autism community. We promote a culture of Autism Acceptance and believe every one of us has strengths and gifts to share with the world.
  • The Autism Project: connects people with a spectrum of needs to the education and resources that support meaningful, purposeful lives.
  • The Autism Support Network: a free support community that connect thousands of other families and individuals touched by ASD. They offer vital information on what’s working for others, coping strategies, and life guides from others living what autism.

Books About Autism

  • Karen J Crystal, Answering Autism From A-Z Provides parents, caregivers, teachers and families with informative details on how to deal with Autism on a daily basis. This book is written in an A-Z format for easy access to find exactly what you need in a moment’s notice.
  • Clare Lawrence, Explaining Autism The second edition of this highly successful book in the Explaining series provides a clear and concise introduction to this fascinating and perplexing subject. Written in accessible, non-specialist language, it provides an ideal overview for parents, caregivers, teachers and employers on ways to understand what autism is.
  • Susan Senator, The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide Susan Senator interweaves the voices of autism parents, researchers, and professionals to offer guidance and encouragement on how to find happiness and fulfillment in the midst of the struggles of raising an autistic child. Topics include: how to handle feelings of despair and hopelessness; finding fun, even during turbulent times; caring for your marriage; and finding a balance between accepting your child as he or she is and seeking new treatments.
  • Sharla R Jordan, Autism: Understanding the Puzzle Written to provide simplified explanations of the Autism Spectrum Disorder and to become a reference for anyone affected by autism.
  • Peggy Gallagher Ph.D. and co, Brothers and Sisters, third edition Explores the relationships between siblings and how the love and support of a sibling can make all the difference in a child with autism’s life. It also offers some guidance in supporting the sibling of a child with autism.
  • Cameron Davis, A Kid’s Guide to Autism This book explores autism from a child’s perspective, and how it can be confusing and overwhelming to a child who has, or knows someone, with autism.
  • Alex Olinkiewicz, In My Mind Written from the perspective of a man with Asperger’s. Alex sheds some light and informs his readers about how he lives his life.

Clinical Trials

Nonprofit Organizations

  • The Autism Society of America has been improving the lives of all affected by autism for over 50 years. They provide advocacy, education, information and referral, support, and community at national, state and local levels through their strong nationwide network of Affiliates.
  • The Autism Science Foundation’s mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.
  • The Autism Research Institute empowers individuals and families affected by autism through research and online education. For more than 50 years, they’ve been helping to advance understanding of autism by pursuing biological research on its cause and potential treatments.

Personal Autism Blogs

  • Rob Gorski, “Autism Dad” written by a father of three sons with autism, this emotional and empowering blog can help guide any parent through parenting a child with autism. 
  • Lisa Reyes, “Faith, Hope and Love.. With Autism” Lisa created this blog so her son Philip, who is on the autism spectrum, could offer the world perspective on life from someone with autism.