The History of ASPIES(a division of ASPIES Greater Akron, Inc.)
years an informal support group existed in Montrose, Ohio, meeting
monthly to address the issues surrounding school aged children
diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Sadly, the group disbanded in 2005.
With a list of about 25 email addresses from that group and knowing
that the need was great, "ASPIES Greater Akron" was organized and held
its first meeting at Akron Children's Hospital in November 2005. We
continued in the tradition of an informal support group helping parents
deal with issues surrounding their children's diagnosis of Asperger
Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism and PDD-NOS holding meetings, sending
out pertinent information via email, and offering phone support.
first meeting we progressed to holding meetings every other month in
2006. We partnered with another local autism group which in 2006 quit
holding support group meetings altogether. So, in 2007 we increased our
meetings to monthly and added our now well known quarterly "Meet &
Greets" as well as our annual Christmas party.
we increased our services again to include collaboration with other
agencies and activities such as sensory integrated movies. Responding
to the plea of parents of adult children on the spectrum, we started an
adult support group for those 18 and older on the spectrum in May 2008.
As we started getting to know them and understand their needs, it was
evident that due to the lack of public awareness about Autism Spectrum
Disorders, this population had missed out on so many of the therapies
now known to be beneficial to those on the spectrum. Initially, we were
teaching attendees what their diagnosis meant to them in every day
living. In 2009, we offered our adults what became known as the
"Empowering You" series wherein outside speakers would present on key
issues facing adults (housing, employment, self-advocacy and such).
With the change in the population attending the end of that year, we
soon found that socialization was much needed and our adult group
became more of a social group offering attendees a place to "fit in".
Our parent group continued to grow.
listserv continued to grow over the years to the now 1,000-plus
recipients (including parents, adults on the spectrum, other agencies,
teachers and other professionals) to whom we send out information
pertaining to trainings and events within an hour of Akron, articles
pertaining to topics of interest, resources, and newsworthy items. We
help individuals in Summit, Portage, Stark, Wayne, Medina, and parts of
needs of families in our community increased, we realized we needed to
focus our energy specifically on those efforts that would best serve
our families. We filed with the State of Ohio in May 2010 to become our
own non-profit entity and announced our restructuring of the
October 2010, we started a parent support group in the Canton, OH,
area. Throughout 2011 and to date we have continued to offer monthly
meetings, activities and support through all three groups. Our vision
continues for our community with many goals to further expand
our current services some as are described in our Vision
Statement. (Note that this past year we were even able to offer
services to individuals from Puerto Rico and Lebanon visiting our area.)
July 2015 we obtained our 501(c)(3) status making donations
to ASPIES tax deductible. As we go forward, we will pursue
grant funding as well in order to expand our services even more.