Fun Programs, Lifelong Skills

At Family Initiative, we’ve developed successful programs for children to young adults and parents to the entire family, with special opportunities for children on the autism spectrum or those engaged in the child welfare system. Our mission is to support and help build stronger families. If you’re ready to create positive change, we’re here for you, and we’re ready.

"We feel totally safe with them. When you drop off your kid, you have a clear head."

Social Skills Playgroup

As a parent of a child with ASD, your desires for them are not extreme nor unrealistic. You want what all parents want for their kids – an opportunity for them to fit in, progress, make friends and be happy.

Unfortunately, this area – the socialization of your children – is the area least addressed by the government and their funding streams.

Fortunately, at Family Initiative, we recognize and appreciate these hopes and wishes and have made social skills a priority. This inspired the creation of one of our most innovative programs – the Autism Spectrum Playgroup – where social skills development receives our utmost attention.

Social Skills Playgroups happen each Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. Fee per group is $20. Registration at check-in.
Location: Christ Community Church, 4050 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33966

I want my child to:

I want my child to create and maintain friendships.

I want my child to develop a place where they feel they can belong.

I want my child to build a foundation to be able to interface with society.

By developing this innovative program, we address the single largest hurdle ASD children face, and that’s integration into a larger world and an opportunity for independence.

Our Social Skills Playgroup provides a unique, safe, and supportive environment for children to connect with their peers to develop socialization skills, friendships, and a social network through structured activities.

Our approach is grounded in play and activities where the child’s priority is to have fun.

We only utilize experienced clinicians to work with the children and their families. Each of our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) clinicians offers a high level of skill and can support each child’s unique needs while promoting positive social interaction in a fun, supportive, and safe environment.

"The Autism Play Group is something he can enjoy without feeling like he is working. Since he started that, his socialization in school and other groups has perked up quite a bit."

Autism Teen Hangout

Being a teenager isn’t easy for most kids. Trying to fit it – to be accepted – is a full-time endeavor. Teenagers and young adults can be unaware of how their words and actions affect others. While it is unintentional, these increased social nuances can make adolescence and young adulthood even more challenging alongside an ASD diagnosis.

Our Teen Hangout Group offers a counterbalance — a place to be themselves and talk with their peers about the triumphs and challenges of each day without worrying about knowing the “right words” or the “right way” to engage.

By blending both clinical engagement with fun activities, we balance skill-building with fun. We offer six-week group cycles where we focus on specific social skills areas using an evidence-based approach through dynamic peer engagement and scenarios to apply the principles being presented.

Teen Hangout six-week program is held on Wednesday afternoons from 4-6 p.m. at the Family Initiative Autism Support Center, 734 4th St., Cape Coral FL 33991. To register for the upcoming program cycle, visit our web Calendar. Cost per program cycle is $120.

"My child has friends who are similar to him at Family Initiative so that he can be himself truly."

ASD ArtPlay

We all have a little creative talent and acting ability in us – even if we don’t recognize it. And that all includes kids with autism. That’s why we’ve created our ASD Arts classes. This program includes visual arts, acting/improv, hip hop/dance, and music in partnership with the Alliance for the Arts. These classes offer a fun and supportive environment for our children and young adults blending experiential learning through arts and clinical wrap-around services.

A certified art instructor teaches each class and provides a variety of activities while Family Initiative staff support each participant. All skill levels are welcome, and all will have fun. Promise.

Location: Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33919
Registration: through the Alliance for the Arts at 239-939-2787 or info@artinlee.org. Cost is $10 per class.

"They work with us to help transform lives and build community through the arts. This program is a great way to show... a difference in the lives of autistic children."

ASD Parent Group

In addition to our youth programs, Family Initiative also offers a parent group for caregivers to learn more about various topics, gain resources for their family, and connect and network with other parents. Our parent group features training from local experts around the community and state.

Parent Group is held via Zoom each Thursday evening from 6:30-7:45 p.m. For more information contact info@fi-florida.org or 239-910-0712.

"They understand our family. They understand our kids."

Child Welfare Playgroup

This program provides a unique way for children to connect with their peers to develop socialization skills and build friendships. Our approach is grounded in play and activities where children’s first priority is to have fun. Our staff draws upon the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) model to support these children and their families.

For location, schedule, and other details, contact info@fi-florida.org or 239-910-0712.

"I think it’s nice. I get to socialize with other kids.", "I like it! It’s fun. My favorite part is all of it!"