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Aspirations Ohio is a part of the Nisonger Center’s Social Programs (Autism College Experience and Next Chapter Book Club). Established in 2002 by The Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center and the Department of Neurology, Aspirations is a group-based social skills and support program that supports adolescents and adults (13-30 years) with high functioning autism and their family.

Led by program manager Erin Harris and parent facilitator Tracey Manz, group leaders facilitate discussions and activities focused on building social and vocational skills as well as self-confidence and a sense of belonging for teens and young adults with autism. Aspirations also offers resources and support to parents and caregivers navigating their son or daughter’s transition from adolescence into adulthood.


Aspirations consists of:

  • Introductory social skills and support curriculum– a 12-week group for teens and young adults and their caregivers offered 3 times a year; topics include:
    • Making and keeping friends
    • Conversation skills and reading body language
    • Independence and responsibility
    • Electronic communication
    • Vocational goals and skills
    • Caregiver resources
  • Monthly Group Reunions– social opportunities within the community on the second Tuesday of each month.
  • Men’s Aspirations– social opportunities for men with autism within the community on the third Sunday of each month.
  • Women of Aspirations (WoA)– social opportunities for women with autism within the community on the second Sunday of each month.
  • Quarterly Social and Leisure Activities (Spring Fling, Summer Picnic, Holiday Parties, and More!)
  • Enrichment Groups (EmployAbility, ASAP, Relate to Me)- dive deeper into those more challenging social areas.

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