CAPE CORAL BREEZE: Autism Support Center opens in Cape Coral

With tears in their eyes, members and supporters of Family Initiative Inc. cut the ribbon to officially open a game-changing facility in Cape Coral that will assist local youth diagnosed as on the autism spectrum.

On Thursday morning, the Family Initiative Lizbeth Benacquisto Autism Support Center welcomed and thanked those who made the center possible, as well as the families they assist.

“Today is an overwhelming day for us and our families,” said Family Initiative President David Brown. “April being Autism Acceptance Month — this space has particular significance to us and everyone in the community, and we’re just ecstatic and thrilled to bring this resource to the community and to support families that have children on the autism spectrum.”

The 3,900-square-foot facility is the area’s first-of-its-kind hub for championing individuals with ASD and their families. It features three cutting-edge clinical rooms for direct, evidence-based assessment; therapeutic interventions, and advanced staff training not previously available anywhere in Southwest Florida.

“We’re honored by the outpouring of love and support from our community. From the businesses, from our families, from our neighbors, from everyone, for our families — to be here to support them and help them grow and thrive,” said Family Initiative Vice President Anjali Van Drie.

Funding for the $400,000 project was sourced through a mix of state and private funds. Former member of the Florida State Senate Lizbeth Benacquisto, for whom the building is named, championed efforts to secure project funding from the state. Dane Eagle, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, along with Benacquisto’s successor in the Florida State Senate, Ray Rodrigues, also worked to obtain state funds for the project.

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