Skip to main content

As we begin the month of April and celebrate the kickoff of Autism Acceptance Month, it’s a
wonderful time to reflect on the successes we’ve achieved, and push set a course forward to
achieve greater inclusion across our region. According to the U.S. Department of Education
the percent of special education students who spend most of their time in regular education
classes is now 66.5 percent, up from 31.7 percent in 1989. In the U.S. overall, 14.7 percent
of all students were special education students (ages 3-21) in 2021-22. Much of this progress
isn’t just the expansion of these opportunities national, but also right here in Southwest Florida. 

Family Initiative in partnership with the Lee County Tax Collectors Office has launched an
employment program for young adults on the autism spectrum. This wonderful collaboration
offers young adults the opportunity to gain professional experience and skills, while serving as
shining examples to their colleagues about the game changing potential they bring to the work-
place. With community leaders like Lee County Tax Collector Noelle Branning, who are always
searching for every opportunity to strengthening her team, while championing inclusion for all
we as a community are a better place. 

In partnership with our state leaders, the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, community
stakeholders and our amazing families we look forward to further expansion of inclusion and sup-
ports for individuals on the autism spectrum. Thank you so much for your support of Family
Initiative and the autism community.       

Celebrating a Milestone: Governor Ron DeSantis signs SB 1758 into Law!  

In a momentous event, Governor Ron DeSantis officially signed SB 1758 into law, marking a
significant step forward for the APD Florida (Agency for Persons with Disabilities). This bill
solidifies the incredible progress already being made through the First Lady Casey DeSantis’s
Hope Florida Initiative.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to APD Director Taylor Hatch for their exceptional leadership
and partnership, as well as to Representative Adam Botana and Senator Jonathan Martin for
taking the time to connect with and support our families. Together, we are making a positive
impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Join us for Autism Acceptance Family Fun Day!   Scoop up some ice cream and support autism
acceptance at our annual Family Fun Day! 🍦💙 Don’t miss out on all the fun activities and
resources we have in store.


Baseball, community, and fun!  

Home runs of appreciation to the Twins and Lee County for making our day shine bright
in SWFL. Let’s keep spreading that love! We have such enormous gratitude for the efforts
of so many to open their hearts to make the world a better and more inclusive place for all
of us.    


Children’s Week at the Capitol!   

First and foremost, a big shoutout to our amazing families and Board Members. You all are
the heart and soul of our organization, and your dedication is truly inspiring. Your support
and commitment make a real difference in the lives of children and families. Let’s not forget
our state leaders! We are deeply grateful for their ongoing support for the autism community
and Family Initiative. Their dedication and advocacy create an inclusive and supportive
environment for everyone.

Children’s Week at the Capitol was a true celebration of unity, compassion, and empowerment.
Together, we are making a positive impact and creating a brighter future for all.

New monthly educational instruction and expert guidance!  

We are now offering new educational opportunities with our monthly caregiver training!
Each month, one of our highly qualified master’s Level Clinicians will provide a brief training
session followed by an interactive Q&A and dialogue. We want to make sure we are giving you
all the information you need to excel in your caregiving journey. Get ready to enhance your skills
and knowledge with our expert-led training sessions!


Rocking out for a good cause! Come out for our annual Rock Autism benefit concert! 🎸🤘   
Mark your calendars for a rockin’ good time in support of autism acceptance – join us on April
21st for live music and community spirit! Round up the crew and join us for a day of family-
friendly activities!

Social Skills ASD Saturday Playgroup!

Our Hallmark Program, ASD Social Skills Playgroup, continues to grow. Our team works
hard to make sure all our kids have a great time in a safe, welcoming environment while l
earning skills and having a blast!

Join us each Saturday at 1:00pm at Christ Community Church in Fort Myers!
No pre-registration required!   

Team Member Spotlight!  
In a symphony of compassion and expertise, Ms. Kate has joined our ranks as a Trust
Based Relational Intervention Practitioner. We celebrate her remarkable achievement
as she continues to inspire and uplift those around her.


Empowering ASD Youth & Young Adults

Family Initiative’s Thrive Academy is empowering ASD youth and young adults
while providing an opportunity for students through an individualized approach to

Click below to learn more about Thrive Academy!

Family Initiative Partners with Lee County to Launch Autism Hurricane Survey    
Family Initiative is constantly working to better support the autism community and is
seeking input from families about their response and needs during emergencies such
as hurricanes. If you feel like you can assist with this, we’d love to hear from you!         

Be sure to stay up to date on all Family Initiative Events, News, Programs, and
Services by subscribing to our notifications!


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter    

734 SW 4th Street
Cape Coral, FL 33991
United States     
‹‹ Previous Post
April at Gulf Coast Symphony
All Posts Next Post ››
SVN Commercial Partners completes series of deals