Chapel Haven Wins National Award for Autism Program


Chapel Haven, a nonprofit program in New Haven, CT, that helps adults on the autism spectrum to lead independent lives, received an award from Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism that includes a $5,000 grant.


Chapel Haven has received a prestigious national award for its innovative and successful program for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Advancing Futures for Adults with AutismAdvancing Futures for Adults with Autism, an initiative with the mission to support the growing number of people on the autism spectrum who are moving into adulthood, bestowed Chapel Haven with its first AFAA Applauds award.

Each of the six AFAA Applauds winners will receive a $5,000 grant, which they’ll use to create videos about their programs, to be released in April.

“We were delighted to be one of six organizations chosen for this prestigious grant,” says Chapel Haven president Michael Storz. “The designation gives Chapel Haven the spotlight and the grant funds to tell our story to a national audience, and we truly feel we have a compelling story to tell…at a time when more and more families are searching for the next best step in the lives of their young adults.”

Chapel Haven, based in New Haven, is a nationally accredited, private, nonprofit school and postsecondary program that teaches adults with autism and other cognitive disabilities to live independent lives.

Storz says Chapel Haven is “living proof that adults with disabilities truly can achieve an independent and productive life,” pointing to the 300 independent individuals the organization has helped over more than 40 years.

Chapel Haven’s program, long considered a national model, was specifically chosen for the award because of its success in helping adults with autism gain employment, make friends, and experience a vibrant life in the community.

“AFAA Applauds shines a bright light on the most innovative programs in the country…as 500,000 children with autism spectrum disorders enter adulthood this decade,” says Christina Whalen, vice president and director of the Vocational and Life Skills Academy at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center. Whalen also serves as a member of the AFAA Leadership Council.

The videos created by each winning organization will be promoted by AFAA, which is led by the vision of individuals with autism and their families who want to develop public and private sector supports for adults with autism.

Other winners of this year's AFAA Applauds award are:

- Autism Services Inc. (New York), which helps individuals with autism become involved in the visual and performing arts

- Eden Autism Services (New Jersey), a multifaceted adult employment program

- Family Adult and Child Therapies (California), a four-year program that supports individuals with autism as they make informed decisions about life

- Partnerships with Industry (California), which focuses on employment

- The Friendship Circle (California), which fosters spiritual, social, and educational experiences for those on the spectrum.