Above / Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, located at 1500 W. Ogden Avenue, is where folks will meet Otis and other folks creating awareness that April is Autism Awareness month during open houses every Thursday evening in April 2018.

UPDATE, April 18, 2018 / Families that took the tour at Turning Point Autism Foundation on Thurs., April 18, could listen from a distance and up close to the artistic talents of Spencer Hua at the keyboard. A student of the piano since kindergarten, 19-year-old Spencer performed from memory a classical program featuring compositions by Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin and Johannes Brahms, while demonstrating how autism speaks.

Above / Spencer Hua said his favorite piano solo to perform is La Campanella by Franz Liszt.

UPDATE, April 17, 2018 / Beginning at 6PM Thurs., April 19, another Open House with tours of Turning Pointe will begin. A special program by Attorney Katie Clancy will address “Legal Planning for the Special Needs Family.”

This week’s tours also will be accompanied by classical piano music performed by a young man with autism during the first hour of the open house.

In addition, a small group of the 100 portraits will be displayed “gallery style” for Thursday, said Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Executive Director Carrie Provenzale, noting that several service dogs also will welcome visitors. 

“Our service dogs will add another fun new element to the event,” she said.

The public is welcome to attend the event on the third Thursday in Autism Awareness month. Light refreshments will be served.

The final open house this month will be held from 6-9PM on Thurs., April 25.

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Executive Director Carrie Provenzale is pictured with Parama Ghatak and Ben Weiss after the students’ powerful performance during the first open house in April 2018. “Many of our open house attendees were truly moved, which I believe creates the vital awareness of empathy and compassion our families need during Autism Awareness Month!” Provenzale said.

UPDATE, April 11, 2018 / To kick off Autism Awareness Month and a series of Thursday evening 3-hour open houses from 6 to 9PM, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation featured a special “gallery” exhibit of photographs titled “One Hundred Portraits” on April 5. The showcase of images, also featured in a new book, profiles the invisible disability that so often identifies individuals on the spectrum of autism.

“Paul Stonehouse has created a book of 100 portraits,” explained Barb Brauer, Director of Operations and Development at Turning Pointe. “The portraits are beautiful!” 

According to Stonehouse, 11 of the 100 portraits, all photographs, are individuals on the autism spectrum. His year-long project was a time to reach out to family and friends, each with an association to someone with autism.

Artist Dodie Mondero is among the 100 portraits. Mondero often can be watched in downtown Naperville while he creates and/or retouches murals that celebrate local history for Century Walk.

“So often, behaviors get in the way of seeing the real individual beyond the behaviors,” said Stonehouse. “The face of autism. What is it?”

Stonehouse said he was inspired by his Godson, Nathan, who is on the autism spectrum. “I wondered how to bring out a voice for this disability that is often unseen and very often misunderstood. Eleven percent of the 100 individuals in the portraits have autism. But can you tell?”

One Hundred Portraits is now available for sale ($20) in the vocational retail training center at Turning Pointe to benefit the nonprofit organization. The book and spirit wear also are available online at TurningPointeAutismFoundation.org.

Presentations aim to bring hope and help while connecting families

In addition, two students from Metea Valley High School presented a stage performance of a family impacted with autism. This semester, the 8-minute piece has been performed by Parama Ghatak and Ben Weiss as a competitive speech in the category of “Dramatic Duet Acting,” where the set is limited to a table and two chairs and props are seen via expressive pantomime. The simple set relies on the talent of the actors to carry the performance, a realistic and powerful glimpse of a special brother-and-sister relationship—and from the sound of the applause, the audience was impressed.

“I believe Ben and Parama’s performance will have an impact on all who were lucky enough to see the performance,” said Brauer.

April 1, 2018 / Turning Pointe Autism Foundation will open its doors each Thursday of the month from 6 to 9PM for an Open House and tour of the facility located at 1500 W. Ogden Ave.

Above / During open houses to help promote Autism Awareness Month, Turning Pointe’s vocational retail training center will be open and visitors will have opportunities to experience special guest speakers and resources, as well as purchase copies of One Hundred Portraits to benefit Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.

April is Autism Awareness Month

In 2004, one in every 10,000 children was diagnosed with Autism. Today, that number is a staggering 1 in 68. As instances of Autism continue to grow, so too does the need for resources, services, and real-time solutions to the challenges faced by those on the spectrum, and their loved ones. Turning Pointe Autism Foundation is committed to providing educational programming, family support services, residential, and recreational opportunities to this growing special needs population.

6PM April 5 /  Open House with tours of Turning Pointe – Public welcome. Photographer Paul Stonehouse has created “One Hundred Portraits,” a handsome book of 100 photographs. Many of the portraits will be displayed gallery style during the open house. Stonehouse will speak to guests about his motivation behind the exhibit and his hope for understanding from the audience that views his exhibit and the book. In addition, two students from Metea Valley High School will present a stage performance of a family impacted with autism.  

6PM April 12 / Open House with tours of Turning Pointe – Public welcome. This evening is devoted to families interested in learning more about the therapeutic day school or Career College.

Applause, applause! The Duet Drama directed by Mark Simon at Metea Valley High School will return Thurs., April 19, during the open house at Turning Pointe.


6PM April 19 / Open House with tours of Turning Pointe – Public welcome / Special Program will address “Legal Planning for the Special Needs Family.” Plus, Turning Pointe has arranged for two students from Metea Valley High School to return for a repeat stage performance, depicting a “slice of life” from a family impacted with autism.  

6PM April 26 / Open House with tours of Turning Pointe – Public Welcome. This evening is devoted to families interested in learning more about the therapeutic day school or Career College.

Have questions? Contact Barb Brauer at (630) 570-7948.

In 2017, Michael was one of several servers employed at the Made to Inspire Cafe inside Lexus of Naperville who offered friendly service at the new coffee shop.

Test Drives for Autism

For the month of April, participating car dealerships nationwide will donate $20 for each test drive. Every dollar donated goes directly to Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting children, individuals, and families as they navigate the lifelong impact of Autism.Visit Test Drives for Autism for details.

In Naperville, participating car dealerships include Toyota of Naperville, Chevrolet of Naperville, Lexus of Naperville, Continental Audi of Naperville and Continental Acura of Naperville.

In addition, the Made to Inspire Café is now located inside the Lexus dealership, just steps from the customer service waiting lounge. Turning Pointe graduates from the Turning Pointe Career College run the café for the guests of Lexus and anyone else who stops in for a beverage or light refreshment.

Know a dealership that wants to become involved? Contact Barb Brauer at (630) 570-7948.

For more information about the Turning Pointe, its school, Career College, services and special opportunities, visit TurningPointeAutismFoundation.org or inquire at 1500 W. Ogden Ave. Naperville, IL 60540.