Ontario Adult Autism Research and Support Network - OAARSN

Ontario Adult Autism Research and Support Network

OAARSN offers information and communication tools to connect adults with Autism, family members, caregivers, friends, support workers, teachers, administrators and policymakers. We can all benefit from the opportunities for mutual support and encouragement and the sharing of knowledge and experience. Our efforts to promote positive approaches and best practices in supporting adults with Autism can help all who live and work on the front lines.

OAARSN provides resources and links to share information about Autism Spectrum Disorder, its various symptoms and types, current research, and helpful treatments and therapies, as these may be relevant to adults. OAARSN’s focus on adult issues balances the emphasis on children in most other Internet resources about Autism.

OAARSN was first launched in February-March 2000. Awareness of Autism has increased since then, with the huge growth of Internet information resources. There is still a role for OAARSN as an independent website representing all kinds of people concerned with adult Autism issues. The website has a simple and logical structure, with all features accessible from this homepage.   

OAARSN was developed by Elizabeth and Gerald Bloomfield, based on a lifetime of support and advocacy with our son Andrew. Our experiences convinced us that “there must be better ways!” We honour Andrew for being a brave pioneer and his friends for their loyalty. We are grateful for the ingenuity of Peter McCaskell in designing the first website and the support of the University of Guelph in hosting OAARSN on its web server. Now we appreciate the experience of Kel Smith of Oaktree Media in rebuilding the OAARSN website in 2021.  

OAARSN’s rebuilt and updated website has various emphases. Like the earlier OAARSN sites, it focuses on adult Autism issues but now features the lived experience of people with more severe Autism and complex and high care needs. See the research essays that explore the vulnerability of adults with severe Autism, and family and individual reflections on living in a complex world and moving accounts of lifetimes of parenting.   

OAARSN is dedicated to the idea that adults with Autism can continue to develop and learn. They and their primary caregivers deserve all the support, faith, imagination and patience we can give them. We who are directly involved believe in this idea because we know and love our particular adults and respond to their humanity. But even sceptics might ponder the social and economic benefits of encouraging continued development and increased quality of life.   

While adults with severe Autism and other health issues may be considered hard to serve and to study, OAARSN tries to encourage more open-minded and positive possibilities. For example, we offer an e-book version of the manual Creating a home and good life of my own by Guelph Services for the Autistic. Guelph Services for the Autistic took responsibility for OAARSN to support its outreach from 2005. Click here to learn more about the GSA.

We value the connections made by OAARSN with interested people in Ontario, Canada, and all over the world. We welcome contributions of original research, reflections on lived experience, bright ideas and creative strategies. If interested, you can learn more about how to contact us.

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Please note that OAARSN provides resources for information purposes only. We do not endorse any treatment, program, product or service. The contents of this website are not medical, legal, technical or therapeutic advice. Information should be reviewed with qualified professionals. We will not be held responsible for misuse of information or for any adverse effects of recommendations mentioned on this website or on any other websites linked to it. Views, opinions or announcements posted by subscribers to any area of this site do not necessarily reflect those of OAARSN and we do not assume responsibility for any discrepancies or errors.