As we approach the end of another year and we enter the Holiday season, I have a lot to be thankful for. On a personal note, since moving to the US, the fall season is without any doubt my favorite time of year. Having two young boys who love trick or treating and getting together with family and friends over Thanksgiving are traditions that I have gladly adopted. And as I reflect on the past twelve months of ACEing Autism’s growth, I am proud of the numbers of children and families that we impact. This year we have launched ten new programs in five new states and are now reaching over 500 families weekly. During the past eighteen months ACEing Autism has grown into a national organization with a staff of six incredibly passionate and productive individuals. I would personally like to thank Leslie, Vanessa, Alex, Nils, Miles, Sara, and Justin for their hard work and dedication. I am very grateful to have such a strong team helping to achieve our mission.
On the heels of such rapid growth, we are now taking the time to focus on standardizing our operating procedures to ensure we can deliver a consistent quality ACEing Autism experience across all our locations. With our organization now firmly established and our model proven to deliver meaningful benefits, we are making improvements to our program curriculum and delivery, staffing, operations, and training procedures so that our volunteers and staff are able to deliver an ideal program experience for all of our participants. With these measures in place to optimize our current programs, we will look forward to continuing to establish new programs to serve more children and families across the country. We will see you on the court!
– Richard Spurling, Founder and CEO of ACEing Autism
September 12, Atlanta, GA: We are very excited to welcome our new Program Director Rachel Bowden, who launched the Atlanta program this fall at the DeKalb Tennis Center. Rachel grew up with parents who are both former tennis professionals, and the game has always been a big part of her life. She has taught tennis to all ages, and has experience working with children with special needs. We are looking forward to many future seasons in Atlanta.
September 13, Washington DC:Program Director Jason Soloman found a new home for the DC program at Anacostia Park, and is now looking for an indoor location to allow us to bring our program to the community in the winter months. Looks like he might have some help moving!
September 12, Poway, CA: Father and son team Tyler and Wayne Chanlaunched and co-directed a very successful new program at theStoneridge Country Club, with the support of their volunteer team drawn from three local high schools. The session ended with medals and cake for all, and a video that Wayne put together for the occasion.
September 19, Long Beach, CA: Grand slam doubles champion Vania King, an alumni ofLong Beach Polytechnic High School, and all-star Volunteer Coordinator Jasmine Roberts brought ACEing Autism to their alma mater this fall. Members of the school’s boys and girls tennis teams volunteered as well to make for a wonderful inaugural session. We are so proud of Jasmine, who was recently nominated for President George H.W. Bush and The White House’s Daily Point of Lightnational award for her work with ACEing Autism! Go Jasmine!
August 26, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Queens, NY
It was another wonderful session at Flushing Meadows Queens Day, as part of our second year participating. ACEing Autism offered a free tennis clinic for 25 children of all ages during the qualifying rounds of the U.S. Open. The event was supported by a group of our wonderful Program Directors from all over the country; Sara Longo, Nils Weldy, Bob Mayerhofer, Ashleigh MacLean, Chandler Semjen, Vanessa Vogel-Farley, Justin Bellisario, and our own Alex Huggan.
ACEing Autism In The News
We would like to thank our friends and partners at Tennis Channel who donate a tremendous amount of resources and air time to help promote our mission. This is the second year in a row that the Tennis Channel has featured our free clinic from the US Open at Flushing Meadows! We have also recently been featured on CBS News, The LA Times, and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
We are excited to announce that we are building a new website. Our new web address is www.aceingautism.org and you are welcome to explore. We are nearing completion and will be ready to launch for the next session registration period by December. Stay tuned!
Announcing our new program at USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Corona Park, NY! Because of the success of our clinics at Flushing Meadows, and multiple requests from the community for a weekly program, ACEing Autism is pleased to announce the launch of our new program which will run January 24th – February 28th. Space is limited! To secure your child’s place in the program, please click here to register.
February 20th: ATP Tournament in Delray Beach, FL – We will be returning for our second year to host a free clinic for kids 4-18 from 10:30-11:30 a.m, and we will also be inviting local supporters and friends to watch the mens semifinal matches afterward.
March 6th: BNP Paribas at Indian Wells, CA – We will be returning to Indian Wells for a second year to offer a free clinic during the tournament. Time and location tbd.
April Autism Awareness Month Racquet Runs– Get your running shoes and racquet ready, the inaugural ACEing Autism Racquet Run is coming April 2016! During Autism Awareness Month, participating locations nationwide will host their own Racquet Run at or near the location where clinics are regularly held. The Racquet Run events will aim to generate awareness of autism prevalence by engaging their community, local and national media while raising the funds needed to sustain ACEing Autism programming at a low cost to participant families. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating, sponsoring or simply learning more about the ACEing Autism Racquet Run.
ACEing Autism: Where Tennis Meets Science
As part of our ongoing effort to be a resource to our participant families and community, we are including two opportunities to participate in studies from our partners at UCLA’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART).
UCLA Infant Sibling Study Opportunity
UCLA CART is studying early brain development in infants at high and low risk for autism spectrum disorders. This study involves non-invasive MRI, EEG, eye-tracking, and behavioral assessments in order to identify signs of autism in the first year of life.
We are actively recruiting families with an infant less than eight weeks of age. Families will receive valuable feedback on their infant’s developmental progress, a picture of their baby’s brain, and $30-50 compensation for each visit. To see if your family qualifies, call (310) 825-3478, or email us at email@example.com.
Treatment Study for Children with Autism and Low Language Ability
Researchers at the UCLA Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry are conducting a research study to examine the combined effects of a behavioral intervention and medication on language development in children with autism.
Some children with autism may have trouble using words to respond toquestions, to start conversations, or to make requests. If your child has autism, is between the ages of 5 to 11, and uses less than 30 words in these situations, your child may be eligible to participate in this free UCLA treatment study aiming to improve language abilities and social behavior.
Study participants will receive a behavioral intervention for language available only at UCLA and medication or placebo. This free UCLA research study is conducted by Dr. James McCracken and Dr. Connie Kasari. If you are interested, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 267-4798. If you know someone who may be interested in participating, please forward this email to them.