What We Believe at ACEing Autism

Our Mission

ACEing Autism is on a mission to help children with autism to grow, develop and benefit from social connections and fitness through affordable tennis programming, uniquely meeting individual needs while filling a national void for this growing and underserved population.

Our Vision

ACEing Autism aims to be the preeminent thought leader on how tennis and sport develops children with autism spectrum disorder by reaching 50% of the 1M+ families in the autism community and helping them become aware of ACEing Autism and impact a greater percentage of the population reached with ACEing’s unique programming.

How It All Started

ACEing Autism was founded in the summer of 2008 by Richard Spurling and Dr. Shafali Jeste in Boston, MA as a family-run organization with the invaluable efforts from its volunteers and supporters.

We launched our first program at The Longfellow Club, Wayland (MA) with 15 children. In the spring of 2009 we added a second location–The Weymouth Club in Weymouth, MA. Richard quickly realized that he could greatly enhance the lives of children and families with autism through tennis, and he made a commitment to dedicate his career to the development and expansion of ACEing Autism.

In early 2010, Dr. Shafali Jeste was recruited to the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment, a center that has been a leader in the field of autism research for decades. In 2010, Dr. Jeste Shafali and Richard relocated to Los Angeles, where Richard has continued to focus on program development and expansion.


Finding Success

Our success lies in our commitment to tailoring the program to the needs of each individual child with autism.

In 2013, Richard was honored with the USPTR’s Humanitarian of Year Award for his work building this program, and in August 2014 ACEing Autism was given the USTA’s Community Service Award.

2023 marks the 15th year that ACEing Autism has been serving communities across the country. We currently service over 3,400 children with autism across 126 locations nationwide. We are passionate about our mission to connect kids through tennis, and we look forward to expanding our reach and welcoming volunteers, families, and children on our courts.

Making an impact in the community

In 2014, the USTA announced that ACEing Autism was awarded the USTA National Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award. The USTA bestows this recognition upon programs that demonstrate continued excellence, dedication, and service in tennis for an adaptive tennis community. ACEing Autism Executive Director & Co-Founder, Richard Spurling, and Director of Program Operations, Justin Belisario, now reside on the committee as thought leaders in the adaptive tennis community.