OAR is beyond thankful for its supporters. From parents advocating for their children with autism, to self-advocates pursing a higher education or employment, to generous donors, OAR is grateful for each and every one.

Read their stories here. 


Pearl Fessenden is the mother of two children: Matthew, who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and Carmen, who has Asperger Syndrome. With the help of OAR’s Kit for Kids, Fessenden has become her children’s number one advocate by giving the lesson at their schools. 

Read Pearl’s story here

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Lisa Cain is more than just a “Socially Responsible Designer,” a title she earned for her graphic designs for non-profits, OAR included, and other similar organizations. She is also the mother of her daughter, Chloe, and her son with autism, Josh. 

Read Lisa’s story here

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Once a shy, quiet young girl, Abigail Chitwood took to beauty pageants as a means to advocate a cause close to her heart: autism. Chitwood decided to speak up for Zachary, her younger brother with autism, by giving OAR’s Kit for Kids lesson to his entire elementary school. 

Read Abigail’s story here


Before attending Clemson University as a part of the ClemsonLIFE program, Sunny Meadows couldn’t do the chores and activities that she can now do flawlessly. The 2017 Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship recipient has lots of new friends and is having the college experience she always dreamed of. 

Read Sunny’s story here


Kara Hume, Ph.D., is a member of OAR’s Scientific Council who strives to leave a positive impact on individuals with autism and their loved ones. Her research, both funded by OAR as well as larger institutions, has done just that. 

Read Kara’s story here

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As a young man with autism, Aaron Lagunoff has struggled with speech disfluency issues, which has been a barrier in obtaining internships or employment. After working with Hire Autism, Lagunoff is currently employed at the Army Navy Country Club. 

Read Aaron’s story here.

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Alyssa Padilla joined the RUN FOR AUTISM team to support her younger brother, Josh, who has autism. Padilla and her father created the Jogging4Josh team, and they all run the Chicago Marathon each year for OAR. 

Read Alyssa’s story here

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Long time RUN FOR AUTISM alum Pete Jewett join the team to support his twin granddaughters, both of whom were diagnosed with autism when they were two years old. 

Read Pete’s story here


After searching for a charity to donate his Chicago Marathon miles to, marathon runner Luis Plascencia found and joined the RUN FOR AUTISM team. Since his brother, Oscar, is on the spectrum, Plascencia knew that OAR was the perfect fit. 

Read Luis’ story here