NEXT for AUTISM transforms the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative programs. We believe that individuals with autism deserve to live fulfilling, productive lives, supported by excellent services and connected to their communities. We continually ask, what’s next for people on the autism spectrum?
- To create and support high-quality programs that maximize the potential of people with autism through each life stage
- To ensure that individuals and their families are successfully integrated into their communities
- To expand system-wide capacity to serve people with autism by coordinating services across agencies and disciplines, and spreading expertise
NEXT for AUTISM (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism) was founded in 2003 by Laura Slatkin and Ilene Lainer, an entrepreneur and former law partner respectively, both with sons who are on the autism spectrum. Laura and Ilene envisioned an organization that would advance the field of autism services and challenge the status quo. After consulting scientists, educators, and thought-leaders, they convened a group of like-minded philanthropists to create and support exemplary, innovative programs that would improve the lives of individuals and families living with autism.
NEXT for AUTISM has built a portfolio of programs with respected service organizations, medical centers, universities, and other educational institutions. Each new initiative is aligned with the corresponding life stage of individuals living and growing with the disorder. Each incorporates best practices and state-of-the-art interventions. The autism community is very diverse and represents families and individuals with often highly different experiences. Our challenge and goal have always been to find a common purpose while understanding and respecting each perspective.