Who We Are

Who We Are

Helping others is not a job, it is a calling

The Autism Society Inland Empire is a non-profit organization which has served our local community since 1986.  Our organization includes individuals with autism, family members, friends, advocates, medical professionals and educators throughout the Inland Empire and beyond.  As an affiliate of the national organization, the Autism Society, we share in their mission of improving the lives of all affected by autism.   We work to create a world where individuals and families living with autism are able to maximize their quality of life, are treated with the highest level of dignity, and live in a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued.

Our organization provides education and training, outreach to the community, support, information & referral, family events, groups and events for teens and adults on the autism spectrum as well as advocating for the needs of our autism community.

As of Jan 2017, there are over 12,000 individuals with autism living in the Inland Empire and in April 2015, ASIE hired our first part-time staff person to meet the growing demand. We currently have 21 volunteers who proudly serve the individuals with ASD, parents, relatives, friends, advocates, educators and other professionals throughout the Inland Empire.

Our History

In 1965, Ruth Sullivan was mother to 4-year-old Joseph who had autism. She was very much like the parents of children with autism today; desperately searching for answers, desperately wanting to help her son. In her research, she came across Dr. Bernard Rimland, also the parent of a child with autism, who published the landmark book Infantile Autism. Ruth brought Dr. Rimland to talk with 60 parents gathered in her home in New Jersey.  The group realized that night there was a need to have a national organization to seek education and care for people with autism, who would work for adequate legislation, research and publicity for their unique challenges. The Autism Society (then called the National Society for Autistic Children) was born.  This organization created a national entity and local chapters to meet the needs of their communities on a grassroots level. The original local chapters included Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and Orange County. In 1969, NSAC changed its name to the Autism Society of America to emphasize that children with autism grow up and become adults with autism.

Our local affiliate originated in 1986 autism was still considered to be rare.  Leah Devulder, a divorced mom with a young son newly diagnosed searched for months for help. She finally heard of an Autism Conference in Long Beach.  After attending, and grateful for the information and help, she was convinced that she needed to help the parents in her area. She needed to find  9 other people to start an official chapter, which was a challenge in the days without internet.  After months of looking, she found 8 other people and used her dog as the founding 10 members and formed the Desert Communities Chapter of the Autism Society of America.  In 1987, the name was changed to the Autism Society of America – Inland Empire Chapter, and changed again in 2009 to the Autism Society Inland Empire (ASIE).

Today, we continue to serve our community with the same mission we had in 1986 – to improve the lives of all affected by autism.

Dr Bernie Rimland
Ruth Sullivan