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Ft. Myers, FL: One in 36 with autism drives demand for "neurodivergent" services

June 14, 2023, WGCU, Fort Myers, FL: As autism prevalence increases, nonprofit Family Initiative expands programs and services
According to the latest available data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate at which kids in the U.S. are being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder has risen to one in 36 children. That number is based on 2020 data. It's up from 1 in 44 in 2018, and 1 in 101 in 2015. The increasing rate has driven a growing demand for education, therapy and other services for neurodivergent kids and their families — and for their entire support networks.

Our guests both have backgrounds in social work, and it was through that work that they decided to step into what they saw as some gaps in coverage when it came to ways to support kids and young adults on the spectrum, and that led to the founding of the nonprofit Family Initiative in 2015. Now, they provide a broad spectrum of support services for neurodivergent kids and their families through their Cape Coral headquarters as well as other locations throughout South and Southwest Florida.

From video:

“Changing the term from awareness to acceptance.”

“They’re tired of a conversation about awareness… really champion the idea of acceptance.”

“The autism community is part of our community.”

“It’s time we have a conversation about in every facet and every corner of our community, what are we all doing intentionally to make it for everybody?”

“We want every business, every person, anybody from the fire department to schools, everybody. What do we need to do in designing and building something or creating something that really meets the needs of folks on the autism spectrum?”


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