Adonis Autism will strive to enhance the quality of life for people living with autism by providing resources, activities, information, advocacy and support to those who love someone living with autism. We are creating a safe secure affordable and financially sustainable long term residential community for persons with autism and their families in a cohousing community providing recreation, socialization, education and job training in a supportive environment.
AAAF is a volunteer run foundation and we thank all who have dedicated their time, finances and efforts to help fulfill our mission. Please click HERE to view our amazing supporters. Our deepest gratitude also goes to those who wish to remain anonymous.
The Adonis Autism Assistance Foundation is the result of the merger of two former autism organizations, Adonis Autism Center of SWFL and the Autism Assistance Foundation. The board members determined the merger and combined efforts would enable both organizations to best service the needs of the autism community in Southwest Florida. The merger became official as of 1/1/11.
ON August 26th of 2014 Adonis elected a new board of directors and effectively merged Adonis Autism Assistance Foundation with Creating a Future for Adults with Autism. We since have revised our name to Adonis Autism to reflect the changes.
The vision of the Adonis Autism Center of SWFL started in 1985, when a group of parents who had children with autism formed a support group in SWFL. Their goal was to create a home for those with autism. The home became a reality when it opened in the summer of 2004. Due to unfortunate events, the home subsequently closed. Adonis stayed intact with a new mission to to enhance the quality of life for people with autism in Southwest Florida by providing programs that encourage progressive lifestyles, participation in the life of the community and decision-making skills through training and education. In order to do so, Adonis offered the annual “Richard Bashaw Grant”, a grant for our ever growing older population.
The Autism Assistance Foundation, Inc. (AAFI) was founded by Heidi Falanga in the Spring of 2009. Her son, Mac, was diagnosed with autism in 2001. She has been a board member for Family Network on Disabilities in Sarasota, Florida and a member of the Collier County Autism Support Group. The Autism Assistance Foundation was created to provide resources and awareness as well as assist families in obtaining therapy and respite.
Terry Kays, President
Terry has worked with persons with disabilities since 1976 when he worked developing activities and recreation for developmentally disabled adults. Since 2012 we have been developing conferences and now workshops for families with disabilities. At the same time we have been working on developing a residential community for families effected by disabilities based on the cohousing model. This is in keeping with our belief that to truly address the problem of disabilities we must first and foremost support the family. We will strive to keep the family together because in addition we believe that there is no person or organization that can match the efficiency, caring, devotion and support that naturally arises in a family setting.
Debby Lasek, Vice President & Secretary
Debby has a 22 year old son with autism. She has worked tirelessly to provide the therapies and support that her son needs. Like many parents in this situation she had to work very hard just to keep her head above water. When her son graduated from high school and the end of services was fast approaching she saw the need to fill the void that families experience as their children age out of the system. She worked to organize families around the idea that we must band together to find solutions. This was the impetus for the first Creating a Future for Adults with Autism Conference in 2012. Since then she has worked to promote and produce two more annual conferences and is presently developing a series of workshops to educate parents to better take advantage of the services available. She is also collaborating on the project to create a cohousing community here in Naples for persons with disabilities and their families.
Mindy Cowan, Treasurer
Mindy has been working with Creating a Future for adults with Autism since its inception on all the various projects. She is also one of the early members of the board of Naples Equestrian Challenge. More to come.