Aspirations Ohio

Aspirations Ohio is a part of the Nisonger Center’s Social Programs (Autism College Experience, Friendship Connection, Next Chapter Book Club), which is under the directorship of Dr. Jen D. Wong. Established in 2002 by The Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center and the Department of Neurology, Aspirations is a group-based social and vocational skills program that supports adolescents and adults (13-30 years) with high functioning autism and their family.

Led by program manager Erin Powers and parent facilitator Tracey Manz, group leaders facilitate discussions and activities focused on building social and vocational skills as well as self-confidence and a sense of belonging for teens and young adults with autism. Aspirations also offers resources and support to parents navigating their son or daughter’s transition from adolescence into adulthood.


Aspirations consist of:

  • Ten-week Teen/Adult social skills and support curriculum based group
  • Ten-week Parent Group Session concurrent with the Teen/Adult group
  • Monthly Group Reunions
  • EmployAbility
  • Relate to Me
  • Men’s Aspirations
  • Women of Aspirations
  • Social and Leisure Activities (Spring Fling, Kayaking Picnic, Holiday Parties, and More!)


Aspirations Enrollment Form to be mailed or emailed

Aspirations Enrollment Packet 


  • Phone: (614) 366-3276
  • Email:
  • Program Manager: Erin Powers, MSW, LISW-S (
  • Lead Parent Facilitator: Tracey Manz (
Aspirations aims to help members to:

  • Develop self-awareness and insight.
  • Learn how to experience and foster positive social interactions and relationships.
  • Gain insight into the importance of rewarding employment.
  • Build lasting friendships

  • We focus on a population of young people (13-30+ years) with mild/high-functioning autism.
  • We are family focused and aim to support parents and caregivers.
  • Teen and adult meetings include interactive activities and guided discussions.
  • Parents of Aspirations members meet each week to share with one another and receive practical and relevant guidance from professionals.
  • Example topics from the Parents of Aspirations’ meetings include financial planning, special needs driving, employment pathways, guardianship, and state/federal support.
  • The initial ten-week curriculum is offered 3 times a year.
  • We offer peer mentorship and social engagement opportunities through reunions and recreational events.

  • Making and keeping friends
  • Conversation skills and reading body language
  • Independence and responsibility
  • Electronic communication
  • Vocational goals and skills

  • Contact for fee and funding information.