Adonis Autism History

1985: Adonis Autism Center of SWFL Founded

The vision of the Adonis Autism Center of SWFL started in 1985 when a group of parents who had children with autism formed a support group. The goal was to create a home for those with autism. The group started out as a support group for parents, and in later years, they received a donation of a parcel of land in East Fort Myers on a large piece of property. The plan was to have a working type farm home for those with autism on this property, growing their own fruits and vegetables and having residents involved with all aspects from growing, caring for crops, and then selling to the community.

2003: Plans & Blue Prints Drawn

Blue print plans were drawn up by Parker, Mudgett, Smith Architects in March of 2003, with their services all donated as well. However, building from the ground up on the donated parcel proved to be more costly than originally estimated. Adonis at this point started looking to buy a home.

2004: Home Opened Its Doors

Adonis located the home in Estero, and it opened as a group home in the summer of 2004 under the name Adonis Autism Center of SWFL. Unfortunately, purchasing homeowner’s insurance that covered the pool proved to be extremely expensive. Group homes pay more for insurance for homes with pools. Eventually, it became unaffordable.

2007: Home Closed, Mission Refined

The home was closed in late 2007 and sold within a few months. Adonis stayed intact with a new mission designed to enhance the quality of life for people with autism in Southwest Florida by providing programs that encourage progressive lifestyles, participation in the life of the community, and decision-making skills through training and education. The nonprofit began fundraising and giving out grants to individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

2009: The Autism Assistance Foundation, Inc. Founded

The Autism Assistance Foundation, Inc. (AAFI), founded by Heidi Falanga in the Spring of 2009, was created to provide resources and awareness as well as assist families in obtaining therapy and respite. Adonis merged with AAFI and the name was changed during this period to Adonis Autism Assistance Foundation to better reflect the nonprofit mission.

2012: Creating a Future for Adults with Autism Founded

Creating a Future for Adults with Autism was founded in July of 2012 to create an opportunity for parents of persons with autism to network and learn about services and programs that are available in the community.

2014: Adonis Autism, Inc. Merger

Adonis Autism Assistance Foundation and Creating a Future for Adults with Autism became Adonis Autism, Inc. Debbie Umphries, who was involved with the Autism Assistance Foundation Inc., became involved with Adonis Autism, Inc., which was under the then leadership of Beth Cameron. In August of 2014, Adonis Autism, Inc. merged with Creating a Future for Adults with Autism in response to the need for support and structure for adults with autism beyond the state provided training that ends at age 22 and because both organizations believed that more could be accomplished together than alone.


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