Necessity is the Mother (and Father) of Inspiration
The Origin of Autism Support Now
Autism Support Now (ASN) is a story of family. It is the story of love, caring, innovation and determination. It was given rise by two children on the spectrum, Ella and Luke McPheeters, whose determination inspired their parents. ASN was founded by Hope and Sam McPheeters, the parents of Ella and Luke. Both Ella and Luke were diagnosed early and Hope’s background in education led her and the family to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a relatively new approach to autism therapy at the time.
In the 20-teens Autism therapy, services, insurance and care was even more scarce than it is today. Hope and Sam immersed themselves in ABA therapy and the education of children on the Autism Spectrum. They experienced the feeling of desperation and hopelessness as they sought help for Ella and later Luke.
Ella thrived in her ABA therapy and, as parents, Hope and Sam thrived in learning how to help Ella. Hope trained alongside Ella’s Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA). Ella received therapy from the Thompson Center in Columbia, Missouri, a pioneer in helping children with learning disabilities. Ella became a success story for The Thompson Center, and she became the poster child of ABA success.
Hope and Sam became active with families and professionals in the Autism community and founded Ella’s Hope, a 501c3 non-profit that produced a series of on-line podcasts and training videos based upon their research and personal experiences. This was the beginning of ASN. Hope and Sam began filling their own void as they helped others fill theirs. Starting as an on-line and in-home provider and then a two-room therapy clinic in Platte Woods, Hope and Sam, quickly, realized that there was a growing need for clinical services after they moved to the Kansas City area from St. Louis, where they had moved for work after living in Columbia.
Autism Support Now’s first full size and full service clinic was founded in North Kansas City. Through grants, donations, their own capital and sweat equity, Hope and Sam founded ASN. It’s very name, Autism Support Now…reflects both a desperation and a determination to provide services to children on the spectrum.
Like Autism itself, creating ASN from the ground-up was frustrating, requiring patience, determination and daily growth. Just as in the journey of Autism, there were many road-blocks and dead-ends, but there were also break-throughs and as Hope and Sam educated, advocated and innovated. The Autism community rallied behind their efforts….and, as they say, the rest is history.
With Ella and Luke as inspiration and with the help of the Thompson Center, other professionals and the Autism community, Hope and Sam McPheeters started there own movement that continues today at ASN.
At its foundation, ASN is a place of caring, education, applied science and most important, love. While the challenges remain many, the very story of ASN provides inspiration and determination to grow and learn and serve. ASN salutes Hope and Sam and Ella and Luke whose legacy continues at ASN today.