This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Autism Research Institute (ARI). The mission of the ARI has been to improve the health and well-being of people on the autism spectrum through research and the education of professionals, those who are affected, and their families. This organization was created by Bernard Rimland in1967 as the Institute for Child Behavior Research (ICBR) and later renamed in the mid 1980s to its present name. Dr. Leo Kanner was an invited speaker at ICBR first congress in 1968. Rimland retired from his job in the Navy in 1984 in order to devote himself entirely to autism. Later on, Rimland edited Temple Grandin’s first book, “Emergence: Labeled Autistic” and wrote its foreword. After passing away in November 2006, the Board of the ARI elected Stephen Edelson to replace Rimland. Among the major accomplishments of the ARI:
- Entered into an agreement with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the University of Maryland to establish a tissue bank.
- Established a monthly e-newsletter which presently boasts over 89,000 subscribers.
- Established the Autistic Global Initiative (AGI), an ARI program run by adults on the spectrum.
- Collaborated with Unlocking Autism to establish a toll-free resource calling center
- ARI transitioned from local facilities conferences to online webinars in order to offer support to families worldwide.
Among the many books sponsored by the ARI, are the following:
- Clinical Assessment Options for Children with Autism and Related Disorders
- Treating Autism: Parent Stories of Hope and Success
- We Band of Mothers
- Families of Adults with Autism: Stories and Advice for the Next Generation
- Siblings: The Autism Spectrum Through Our Eyes
- Understanding and Treating Self-Injurious Behavior in Autism
I have been honored to serve on the Advisory Board for the ARI for the last few years. For those who want additional information regarding this organization a commemorative booklet entitled “50 Years of Research 50 Years of Success”, can be downloaded from http://www.ariconference.com/ari.pdf.