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OARacle Newsletter

Raising Autistic Children

Two fathers, both members of OAR’s RUN FOR AUTISM team, describe what is like to raise autistic children, from diagnosis to achievements to lessons learned and the bonds they have with their children. Opportunities The COVID-19 pandemic created a lot of challenges to navigate, but it also presented new opportunities. At the onset of the…

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Mental Health and Wellness for Autistic Teens

Autistic teens with intellectual disability are at risk for mental health disorders, particularly anxiety. In fact, anxiety occurs at higher rates in autistic teens/adults with intellectual disability (53%) compared to non-autistic individuals with intellectual disability (17%). Assessing anxiety can be particularly challenging given teen communication and behavioral differences. Caregivers are often required to identify and…

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Including Neurodiverse Students

Students with autism make up one-fifth of students receiving special education services in the United States, and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than half of these students receive special education services in the general education classroom for part or all of the school day. These findings are promising, given the benefit…

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Neurodiversity as a Super Power

“The world needs different kinds of minds to work together.” – Temple Grandin That’s right…I said it: Neurodiversity is a superpower. In this article, I explore the incredible strengths autistic and other neurodivergent* individuals bring to the workforce, why these strengths are important for employers, and what neurodivergent employees should look for in a potential…

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Building an Inclusive Higher Education Environment

The need for resources and support in higher education is paramount for autistic individuals who are interested in obtaining post-secondary education. Research suggests that students with disabilities, including autism, graduate with a bachelor’s degree at a rate of 38.8% compared to 60.4% of all college students (Newman et al., 2011). According to the College Autism…

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A New Leader Looks Ahead

Last month OAR celebrated its 21st anniversary. For any nonprofit, this would be a special occasion in and of itself, but for OAR this celebration was especially memorable. In December, Mike Maloney, OAR’s executive director, stepped down from the role he had held since OAR’s founding. Under Mike’s leadership, OAR went from a small nonprofit…

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Promoting Youth Engagement in Transition Planning

Transition teams are critical to building effective plans for youth who are preparing to embark on their adult lives after high school. These teams are tasked with creating and implementing plans that best align with young adults’ goals, strengths, and interests. The transition process is meant to answer questions such as: What does the youth…

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OAR Ain’t Over

It ain’t over until it’s over. – Yogi Berra December 13 will be OAR’s 21st birthday, and my final day as OAR’s executive director. Kristen Essex, our deputy executive director, will take over and become OAR’s day-to-day leader. Last month I drew upon a quote from the late Yogi Berra in the annual letter to…

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Promoting Better Criminal Justice Outcomes for Autistic Individuals

With multiple high-profile stories of negative interactions between autistic individuals and law enforcement, coupled with the fact that autism impacts individuals throughout their lives, there has been increasing attention to the need for better understanding of how to prevent adverse outcomes. Preliminary research has demonstrated that autistic individuals deal with the criminal justice system frequently,…

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Autism Within the Criminal Justice System

For this issue looking at safety and the criminal justice system, OAR sat down with Haley Moss to get her perspective on safety, criminal justice, and autism. Haley Moss is an attorney, author, advocate, artist, and consultant. Diagnosed with autism when she was 3 years old, Moss now uses her personal and professional experience to…

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