Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Six Organizations in U.S. Recognized for Innovative, High-Quality Autism Programs

Programs in CA, CT, NJ, NY Selected as National Models

(Autism Speaks is the managing partner of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), a national consortium of organizations seeking to create meaningful futures for adults with autism that include homes, jobs, recreation, friends, and supportive communities.) 

Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) has selected the inaugural winners of AFAA Applauds, a national initiative recognizing innovative, high-quality support programs for adults living with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

AFAA will promote the winning programs as cutting-edge models for other organizations across the country to replicate. The goal is to meet the increased demand for effective services, provide accurate information on promising practices and generate awareness about ASDs and adult concerns.

Through a competitive application process, AFAA selected six organizations for exemplary results-oriented employment, residential support and community life programs. Community life includes social skills, transportation, recreational, safety, spirituality or other categories of service that improve life experiences and outcomes for those living with autism. 

The winners:

  • Autism Services Inc., New York
    Autism Services Inc. helps individuals with autism become involved in the visual and performing arts and has improved their quality of life. 
  • Chapel Haven, Connecticut
    Chapel Haven’s supported living program assists individuals with autism as they obtain jobs, gain a network of friends and participate in a vibrant community life. Chapel Haven’s program sets a high standard for excellence.
  • Eden Autism Services, New Jersey
    Eden Adult Services’ multifaceted adult employment program promotes the meaningful engagement of adults with autism in their communities through paid employment and active volunteer service. The program has created successful employment opportunities for individuals with autism.
  • Family Adult and Child Therapies (FACT), California
    FACT’s Generating All Possibilities 4-year program supports individuals with autism as they make informed decisions about work, college and where to live. The program helps prepare adults with autism for the future.
  • Partnerships with Industry (PWI), California
    PWI provides adults with autism the opportunity to find employment. PWI has helped individuals with autism reach their potential and experience independence.
  • The Friendship Circle, California
    The Friendship Circle fosters spiritual, social, and educational experiences for individuals with autism. The program has created activities that bring value to the lives of individuals with autism.

Each AFAA Applauds winner will receive a $5,000 grant for the development of a video about the program to be released in April. AFAA will promote the videos through multiple communication channels.

AFAA Applauds shines a bright light on the most innovative programs in the country to assist organizations in developing services that will enrich the lives of individuals with autism. As the 500,000 children with ASDs enter adulthood this decade, ensuring they participate in effective programs is critical to their quality of life,” said Christina Whalen, vice president and director of the Vocational and Life Skills Academy at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) in Phoenix. Whalen also serves as a member of the AFAA Leadership Council. 

AFAA is a national consortium of organizations working together, led by the vision of individuals with autism and their families, to promote a collaborative spirit and develop both public and private sector support that improve the lives of adults living with autism. AFAA Leadership Council and affiliated members are listed below. Please refer to the AFAA website for more information about AFAA and its member organizations:

AFAA Leadership Council

AFAA Affiliated Members

Media Contact:

Denise D. Resnik
DRA Strategic Communications
(602) 956-8834, x111