Skip to main content

Family Guidebooks

Guidebooks for Families

The Organization for Autism Research knows how important having information is for autism families.  We publish and provide comprehensive guidebooks, manuals, and booklets for families that are written by experts in the field and backed by research. Topics include responding to an autism diagnosis and addressing safety concerns at home to navigating the special education system and creating positive and welcoming learning environments in schools.

All of our resources below are designed to support families.  Click from the list below to be directed to a specific resource or scroll down for an overview of each family resource.

A Guide to Safety

No parental instinct is as intense and fundamental as protecting one’s child from harm. For parents of autistic children, safety risks become magnified because of challenges resulting from fixations with narrow interests, limited situational awareness, and sensory and communication issues. So why should parents expect to do it all alone?

OAR’s A Guide to Safety was written with help from parents, first responders, educators, and community members, who shared their strategies and resources to address safety threats that commonly arise during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This resource helps educate parents about how to prevent and mitigate emergency events, safety threats that may affect their child in the future, and how to teach safety habits that will build a foundation for safety in adulthood.

Learn More

A Parent’s Guide to Research

Understanding a complex spectrum disorder like autism is difficult enough in a purely academic setting. Yet when parents learn of their child’s autism diagnosis, they are tasked with educating themselves about autism and the wide range of treatment options available.

Research can play a critical role in that education. That is why we created A Parent’s Guide to Research, a basic primer on autism research.

Learn More

A Guide for Transition to Adulthood

Adulthood represents a time in one’s life where there are increased levels of independence, choice, and personal control. These are all qualities that can and should be part of any autistic adult’s life. For many young autistic people and their families, the transition to adulthood is a daunting one, marked by significant changes in available services. Proper planning can ease this difficult transition, however, and ensure that all autistic individuals build the skills and establish the supports that will allow them to take advantage of all that adulthood has to offer.

Newly updated for 2021, OAR’s Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood (2nd ed.) provides an overview of the transition to adulthood process for parents who are traveling this path with their child for the first time.

Learn More

A Parent’s Guide to Assessment

The formal assessment process can be a daunting experience for parents of children newly diagnosed with autism. The professionals who conduct assessments often rely on objective measures that use technical language around “deficit performance” or what your child cannot do. Rarely do they explain outcomes in terms that parents can use to set goals for their children.  A Parent’s Guide to Assessment is intended to remove the mystery surrounding assessment and provide the tools to help parents better understand the process and utilize assessment outcomes to improve services and interventions for their children.

Learn More

A Guide for Military Families

When a military family has an autistic child, they face all the emotions and challenges that accompany this diagnosis, compounded by the realities of military service: war, extended family separation, frequent moves, varying access to specialized healthcare, and other stressors that complicate and often work against effective treatment for autistic children. These families need help navigating these uncharted and difficult waters.

This guide and its companion website are resources for military families with autistic children. Their purpose is to give each family the tools and access to information that it needs on its unique life journey through autism.

Learn More Visit Operation Autism Website

Guide for Military Families 2019 cover

Navigating the Special Education System

More autistic children are attending public school than ever before. Many teachers, administrators, and school support staff lack the background and training to meet the unique needs of autistic students. It falls to the parents to make sure that their child’s challenges, whether with social interactions, communication, or behavior, are addressed with research-based interventions within the school setting. To assure this, parents must have a basic understanding of special education services, their child’s rights, and their own.

Learn More
Navigating the Special Education System 2019 front cover

Autism Sibling Support Resources

Siblings of children with autism are in a unique position. They face challenges (similar to those that parents encounter), but at a time before they’ve developed appropriate coping strategies. As a result, they need support to ensure that they’re informed, feel respected, and know how to be compassionate advocates for their siblings on the spectrum.

OAR’s three autism sibling support resources offer guidance for young children, teenagers, and parents on how to productively address the ups and downs that may arise for individuals who have a brother or sister with autism.

For Young Siblings
For Teenage Siblings
For Parents