The following is a conversation between Gillian Leek, the CEO of NEXT for Autism, and Denver Frederick, the Host of The Business of Giving.

Gillian Leek, CEO of NEXT for AUTISM

Denver: NEXT for AUTISM transforms the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative programs. They believe that individuals with autism have the potential to live fulfilling, productive lives when supported by excellent services and connected to their communities. 

And here to tell us about their work and what’s next for people on the autism spectrum is Gillian Leek, the CEO of NEXT for AUTISM

Welcome to The Business of Giving, Gillian!

Gillian: Thank you. Pleasure to be with you.

The big thing about NEXT is the organization is always evolving and always looking forward. And so, of recent, our board has come together and said, “Our focus, our lane, where we want to be now is the future for autistic adults.” And we’ve always been about services. So that’s our space. We’re about helping right now, providing assets and supports right now. 

Denver: Tell us about the organization, a little bit about its history, and more about your mission. 

Gillian: Sure! So, NEXT for AUTISM – we are celebrating 18 years this year. We are founded by Laura and Harry Slatkin, and Ilene Lainer, parents who had an incredible passion and dedication 18 years ago to fill a service need, and they started by looking at the education space in New York City. They started the first charter school in New York City dedicated exclusively to autistic children, and it’s called the New York City Autism Charter School. 

I’m happy to say that since then, a second one has opened. The first one in Harlem, the second one in the Bronx. And it’s been a tremendous asset to the community. It’s a lottery system. It doesn’t matter your resources or ability to pay, you could have the ability to get the care that kids need. And it starts at a really young age.

From there, they pretty much saw a lot of areas that needed attention, and in the last 18 years, have started a number of programs – from afterschool programs to programs with Hunter College that are really focused on professionals in the field.  How can we reach more individuals?  And then they kind of turned their attention to services in diagnostics and supports with the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, which is a partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia and Cornell. 

And I think the big thing about NEXT is the organization is always evolving and always looking forward. And so, of recent, our board has come together and said, “Our focus, our lane, where we want to be now is the future for autistic adults.” And we’ve always been about services. So that’s our space. We’re about helping right now, providing assets and supports right now. 

And so, there’s a lot going on for us at the moment. Specifically, we are focused on the areas of home, work, social, health and wellbeing – what everybody needs to have a really wonderful, well-rounded life. And we have a number of initiatives going in each of these categories, which I’d be happy to talk about.

But NEXT for AUTISM, I think, is just so unique in this space because we are really out there creating new initiatives. And the hallmark of who we are is to usually partner and to collaborate. And we’ve done that successfully over the last few years, and I think we’ll continue to do that. And it’s a pleasure to do that.

Denver: It’s very nice to have an organization whose name is appropriate to what they’re doing, which is NEXT. That’s all it’s about. It’s about “next.”

Let me ask you a couple of questions about autism in general. What is the prevalence of autism in the population?

Gillian: So, interestingly, the CDC actually came out with numbers, I think in 2020 with 5.4, more than 5.4 adults in the US on the autism spectrum. And that’s the first time, they’ve put out-

Denver: That’s 5.4 million, right? 

Gillian: Correct. 5.4 million. Thank you. And that’s the first time they’ve put out a number about adults, which of course, we look at and say we’re headed in the right direction to be focused on that area of the lifespan. But the CDC numbers right now, I believe are 1 in 54.  

Denver: That’s about a 10% increase or something. It’s really gone— it’s significantly higher than it’s been. And considerably more boys have autism than girls. Do we have any idea as to why that is the case? 

Gillian:  The CDC numbers do say that autism affects boys more than girls. I’m not sure if they’ve come out with any research on that topic, but yes, that’s long been known to be the case. But I think that the community is coming around.  You used to not hear much about autistic women at all, and now you are, and you should.

So, I think the community is evolving on that topic that even though the prevalence is more in boys, there still are women. And we need to look at that population, too. 

Denver: Sort of like heart disease was the same thing. We never looked at women for all those years and then realized the signs of a heart attack were completely different than they were for men.

Denver: What has been the effect of COVID on people with autism? And I say that in the context of isolation. And we’ve all suffered, I think, but obviously, this community probably has been more, more severe. 

Gillian: COVID has had a really big impact on this community in a number of ways. So, I can speak specifically to an example of a program we have called Project SEARCH Autism Enhancement, and this speaks to the work and employment bucket that we seek to address. And it’s an internship program that allows autistic individuals in their final years of school to actually be on the job, doing internships for that final year with the ultimate goal of job placement and retention. 

And we’ve partnered in this instance with The Arc Westchester and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and they’ve been running this program, I think, five or six years now. And that would be an instance where the team had to pivot really quickly and make it virtual, but there are challenges to that. There are routine changes. There is now etiquette to being online and doing professional meetings virtually that need to be taught. I also think the isolation is a big piece of it. Communication is generally one of the hallmarks that autistic individuals need more support with, and I think that COVID really did not help that.

We were able to pivot. We started a COVID relief fund and really, we supported a lot of  direct service organizations with PPE, iPads, things that could connect people more. I think in some ways though, there could be some positives as well, which is that the industry, to some degree, saw the opportunity for things like telehealth or being able to deliver services remotely, which can be a benefit. It almost forced everybody to expedite anything they had been thinking about in that capacity and learn to do it virtually, which opens a lot of doors sometimes because sometimes access is a problem. So, there are pluses and minuses for sure. 

Denver: I hear what you’re saying. I do feel that a lot of the constraints that have been placed upon us during COVID have led to innovations that would have never occurred otherwise. And we don’t often think of constraints and innovation, but the two of them are really linked as we don’t take that road of least resistance.

And I do think there’s going to be an amplification to a lot of organizations and programs, subsequent to the pandemic because it will never replace it, but it actually can be some added value to make it more robust.

Gillian: I think the telehealth space is definitely one for a lot of communities. But we’ve certainly seen some benefits in the autism community with access.

At NEXT, one of the things I think is so important is that you’re constantly receiving critical feedback in what you’re doing… we have a culture of that at NEXT. We often reach out. We often share what we’re doing and garner critical feedback.

Denver: Gillian, the organization’s tagline is “always innovating.” So, tell us how you foster a culture of innovation at NEXT. 

Gillian: Oh, I love this question. So, this is a great question because at NEXT, one of the things I think is so important is that you’re constantly receiving critical feedback in what you’re doing.

And recently we decided to launch an advisory board. And the goal of the advisory board is really to be a gut check on NEXT. Are you meeting the needs of the community? Are your programs incorporating autistic voices and autistic desires and needs and opportunities and choices? And so, I think that we have a culture of that at NEXT. We often reach out. We often share what we’re doing and garner critical feedback.

And it’s not always positive. You can’t have an advisory board of people that all agree. So, you have to have lots of different perspectives. And we do. And I think that that is something that, while new to us, is going to benefit us tremendously. And I think it’s been interesting so far. 

I always appreciate … critical feedback. Tell us we’re not doing it right. That’s OK. But then let’s talk about how to do it right. Or let’s talk about the pivots we need to make. And I think if you don’t outreach to your community, and you don’t have opportunities to do that, the work is not as good and innovative. And you’re not necessarily meeting the needs of the community.

So, our board is like that. Our advisory board is like that. We have a NEXT Gen board that’s like that. And our team is like that at NEXT. I encourage our team to always be participating in other boards and other committees and other gatherings so that they’re keeping their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the community.

Denver: I love that idea of the new advisory board that you set up. Not many organizations have done that. And I also recognize that it can always be a challenge because they want you to do everything they suggest, and you can’t. And sometimes it’s going to be in conflict with what your board wants to do. So, it’s what you get paid for, Gillian! You know what I mean? To be the CEO and bring all those things together. 

But to have someone like that who is not tethered to the organization in any, let’s say, formal way, who can really speak their mind, is, I think, a blessing for so many organizations. And it would be really encouraging to see some others go along those same lines. 

Gillian: I agree.

Let me ask you about couple of your other initiatives. Why don’t we touch on this. Tell us about NEXT Gen Connect. 

Gillian: Oh, I would love to. So NEXT Gen Connect is really an initiative of our NEXT Gen board, which is the generation that’s going to be the future CEOs and C-suite of our companies. And they are incredibly passionate and active and really have said, “Look, we want to get our hands around something mission-based, and we want to start something.”

A lot of NEXT Gen boards do wonderful fundraising and events. Ours does as well. But they really felt like: Where can we have the biggest impact on the mission? And so, our Strategic Initiatives team, which is led by Dr. Patricia Wright, has worked with them to put together what we call NEXT Gen Connect, which is a mentor-to-mentor program.

And it’s intended to have young people who are already employed be able to pair with young people seeking a profession and to go through a series of virtual–right now–connections of talking about everything from resume building, to mock interviews, to virtual etiquette. But there’s a real message here that’s intended to be allyship. 

This is not about somebody who might be neuro-typical working with somebody neuro-diverse and saying, “Here are the things you need to do to fit into this company.” That’s not what this is about. This is about teaching each other, mentor-to-mentor.

And we know that organically, mentorship programs have exponential benefits on all sides. But we do have a number of college graduates, autistic college graduates. And we hear often from the colleges – “We can’t find them jobs.” And we know that companies want to hire autistic individuals.

And so, I think it’s about trying to show people the path. We’re piloting it this year. The ultimate goal for us would be to disseminate and scale and really be able to get this program out there on a wide scale. But how do you connect the two? Like you can’t just introduce them. You have to show people the way. You have to show companies how it can be done, what a huge enhancement to your culture it is, and just really, really set the bar high for what can be achieved. 

So, I’m excited about that one. We’re launching it this year and actually reporting on it very soon to our board. 

Denver: That’s fantastic! It’s a great initiative, and you’re absolutely right. You just can’t have these things introduced and hope that they take root. You really, particularly at the start, have to stay on top of them. You have to stick with it, and you have to remove those roadblocks along the way and those friction points. And once you’ve done that for a couple of years, then it can leave earth’s orbit and get some momentum and energy on its own. But you really have to steward it. 

Another one of those programs of yours is NEXT for DEI. I love this one. Tell us about it. 

Gillian: So NEXT for DEI comes from the place of a lot of conversation, especially right now, about diversity, equity and inclusion. And the idea that when you really look at the data, a lot of companies, for whatever reason, aren’t really counting disability or reporting on disability in their DEI statistics. And so, this is an effort by NEXT to partner with companies to say, “Let us show you how you could do that.” 

And it’s not to put anybody on the spot, and it’s not to say, “You’re not doing enough” or “Your data’s not going to be good.” It’s really to try to move the needle and to say that, “It’s OK if you don’t really know the next step on including more individuals with disabilities in your company. We can talk to you about that.” Obviously, our lane is autism, but often you find that when you have these conversations, it really does have an exponential benefit elsewhere.

And so, we are putting together a toolkit for companies. And we were very lucky to get a grant from the Bhatia Family Foundation to do this work. And it’s a pilot this year again, but we are excited about getting companies to sign on to just agree to sort of start with us. Nobody’s saying, go publish something and go… but just get started and let’s think about it together, and let us show you how to be considering it, to be tracking it, and to be making enhancements in your culture that would have you really making an impact in the community. We know that employment is something that really needs to be focused on in the disability space, not just autism. There is a huge workforce out there. And I think–

Denver: Right. And companies need workers, too. 

Gillian: And they need workers. And I think to nobody’s fault, companies need to be shown how to do it sometimes. And that’s OK.

Denver: That’s what you’re here for. You touched on this earlier, but I just want to go back and revisit it a little bit because I was a little surprised that the CDC had that report on adults with autism. And this was the first time they had ever done it in their history, which I hope is a prelude to what’s to come, and that they’re really beginning to focus on it. As you mentioned, 5.4 million adults. Talk a little bit about what you are doing for them. 

Gillian: So, for us it’s the areas of home, work, social, health and wellbeing. And we touched on two, so far. Or one, which was work. But we decided, while broad, these are areas that really everybody needs to have a well-rounded life. These are things I need. Everybody needs this. And so how could we start to move the needle in these areas? 

And so, I think that the CDC putting out numbers is tremendous because I think it starts to change the national conversation, which really has to happen. As a society, we have to start to change the conversation and the narrative. And in order to do that, when you see more conversation about something, I think it really does do that. 

So, for example, we know social interaction and communication is key for anybody. So, we actually have a curriculum that we’re publishing this year called NEXT for Going Out. And a lot of what you see at day habilitation programs is not enough interaction out in the community. And sometimes it has to do with being unable to really know how best to go about something. And having the time to put together visual, supports… or the steps in which a person might need to teach somebody to go bowling, to go grocery shopping, wherever, wherever they want. And so, we’ve put together this curriculum for day habilitation centers that can do that. 

And everybody talks about this, but there’s a certain age at which – 21, 22 sometimes – where services sort of stop. You age out. And so, you find a lot of autistic adults may then transition to day hab programs, and then maybe their interaction in the community lessens. And we really wanted to say, “OK, one thing – one of many that we’re doing – is that we could try to impact the social piece of that.” 

But I think it’s a really big, critical topic that services sort of stop at a certain point. And you hear a lot of people say, “the autism cliff,” and you maybe have heard that description. And I think that that is what we are trying to focus on –  that transition from services to adulthood, and how can we create more opportunities and choice in that space? 

Denver: It seems to be a societal problem that we have. I take a look at foster care and things of that nature. You get to that 18, 21 age, and then all of a sudden, everything we put in place ends. And so often, you’re on your own. And all the good work that’s gone into that point can be dissipated… unless you have something where you can transition them into.

Gillian: That’s right. That’s exactly right. And I think we are trying to impact that space. And it’s hard. It’s a hard thing to do. We’re trying to really create systems change. That doesn’t happen overnight. 

Denver: No. But I can hear you. It’s OK if it’s hard as long as it’s possible. That’s sort of the attitude.

Gillian: That’s right.

At NEXT for AUTISM, we are really looking to honor everyone’s journey. And everybody’s journey is different. It is a spectrum. And I think that it’s really critical to listen, to learn and evolve. And that is what we are doing.

Denver: As you know, Gillian, NEXT for AUTISM has a few critics out there. They say things that there’s a lack of autistic representation within the organization, a failure to communicate, some of the language you use, partnering with Autism Speaks, which has some controversy in some people’s eyes, your support of applied behavior analysis, and a couple of other things along those lines. What would you have to say to that? 

Gillian: So, what I would say to that is at NEXT for AUTISM,  we are really looking to honor everyone’s journey. And everybody’s journey is different. It is a spectrum.  And I think that it’s really critical to listen, to learn and evolve. And that is what we are doing. That is what our board is doing. And we are taking action steps in that direction. 

But it’s additive to who we are. We have been serving the spectrum for a very long time, and there are a lot of different needs and supports. And I think that one voice can’t speak for everybody, and I think that’s important as well. There are a lot of different needs out there, and it’s difficult to be everything to everyone. But I think that we will always have a dialogue. We’re always open to listening. 

Our advisory board includes autistic voices. I absolutely have every intention of adding autistic voices to the organization. We have had many over the years, and that’s the kind of information that you don’t get by looking on the internet. The history of who we are and what we do is deep. And I think that we have an incredibly engaged board who listens. 

And I think that’s really critical and really important because that’s when you begin to see change. And that is what our board is doing. They feel really passionately about meeting the needs of the community, but the needs are really vast.

So, I think that we want to continue to have conversations. I think we have been having a lot. By the way, we always reach across the aisle and we have dialogues. We heard the community with Color The Spectrum, and we chose to invest in autistic-led and centered organizations and initiatives. And we are actively doing that right now with our grants program. And we are actively pulling in autistic voices that maybe we didn’t know or are new to us. They weren’t ones we already knew. And I think that’s really critical and really important. 

But I think that there are services still that need to happen. And so, you can’t lose sight of that. You can add to it. You can grow. You can expand. But it doesn’t change our mission. 

Denver: And we wouldn’t want every organization doing all the exact same thing because you never know where all the answers are going to come from. And the idea that we have this mosaic, and we’re all playing roles, and those roles are moving and changing – that’s the best way to move forward.

Well, one of those changes has been this past April. You moved away from Autism Awareness Month to a more relevant and meaningful Autism Acceptance Month. Explain the significance of that change to us, Gillian. 

Gillian: So it’s certainly not something NEXT created or started. This has been a movement happening for some time, and an important one. And I think the idea here is that the world and the community need to accept autistic individuals for who they are. And that’s it.

And I think it’s a beautiful message, and I think it’s one that we embrace, our board embraces, our team embraces. And when, maybe coming to it a bit late in the game, but when it was presented to us, we immediately jumped on board. And I think that it’s a beautiful thing. Acceptance is a beautiful thing. 

Denver: Tell us about Night of Too Many Stars, which you have periodically done with Comedy Central. But in light of COVID, you are now having a different kind of event called Color The Spectrum which was held this past April. Tell us about that.

Gillian: So, Night of Too Many Stars—I’ll start there—has been a beautiful event. It’s created by Robert and Michelle Smigel. It’s their brainchild. It’s their passion. And they’ve been able to really rally a tremendous group of friends and supporters in the entertainment industry to come in. And it’s been happening – Night of Too Many Stars – I think has been happening for going on close to 20 years now.

And it’s truly been our point in time where we’ve been able to say to the world, “This is what we see happening in the autism community. It’s about autism acceptance. It’s about letting autistic voices be front and center. And it’s been about rallying support, acceptance, inclusion, not making autism something that’s not talked about.” And so, Night of Too Many Stars, which really has been hosted year over year by the amazing Jon Stewart, through Robert and Michelle Smigel. He has been such a champion of this community. 

And when we couldn’t do it due to COVID, it was sort of a, “OK, pivot. What could we do? And we had been introduced to Mark Rober, who is a tremendous YouTube sensation, former NASA engineer, and has an incredible following. And we put together Color The Spectrum with Mark and with Jimmy Kimmel, both of whom have tremendous hearts, are tremendous champions of the community, are tremendous listeners, and are doing it all for the right reasons.

And they put together the show. They gave a platform to autistic voices. They had millions of views, and we raised money which is now being invested into the community, which is what we do with Night of Too Many Stars. So, we give away grants to autism programs across the country, and it was really successful.

And I think that we’ve been able to see a lot of people feel heard, and I think that’s really important. And hats off to Mark and Jimmy for doing that. I mean, really, it’s all them and the Smigels. We at NEXT are just very lucky partners and beneficiaries and doing the good work. We have the awesome honor and privilege then of doing the good work.

Denver: I think I saw on Coinbase, Gillian, that you raised some like $300,000 or $400,000 in cryptocurrency. I mean, that is fantastic! How were you able to do that?

Gillian: I will credit those involved with the show for making that possible. That’s certainly– cryptocurrency is a new topic for a lot of people. It’s not new, but it’s new in the fundraising space, and I think that it’s getting some traction. Certainly new to us, and we’ve had tremendous supporters. And it worked. I don’t know. I think as an organization, you always have to be trying something new.

I mean, we’ve tried a lot of different fundraising outreach over the years. Fundraising is one of those things that you have to stay in front of, you have to be innovative with. You have to try new things. And it was tremendous 

We at NEXT see the best results when we keep the mission at the heart of everything we do. And I think that’s the biggest piece. You’re choosing partners, and you’re getting to work with incredible individuals that feel as passionate as you do about achieving a goal. And that’s when you see success and ultimately, change, which is really what we’re looking for.

Denver: Sticking with fundraising, how do you believe philanthropy could be more effective in helping organizations like NEXT for AUTISM, in helping you guys deliver against your mission?

Gillian: I think that I often say – and it’s just true – you have to put the mission at the heart of what you’re doing with any partnership and any philanthropy. Any donor, any funder – you have to have a shared goal. And that’s what you’re looking to achieve together. The donation is critical because it’s the gas in the car to get you there quickly. 

But usually, I think that we at NEXT see the best results when we keep the mission at the heart of everything we do. And I think that’s the biggest piece. You’re choosing partners, and you’re getting to work with incredible individuals that feel as passionate as you do about achieving a goal. And that’s when you see success and ultimately, change, which is really what we’re looking for. 

Denver: I talk to a lot of nonprofit CEOs, and they say this has been about the toughest year,  year and a half, they’ve ever experienced. And they have had to make more tough decisions over the last 18 months than in their entire career put together.

What would you say is one of the most difficult decisions that you’ve had to make, and how do you go about making tough decisions? 

Gillian: I would agree that it’s been an incredibly difficult year. And I think one of the difficult decisions we had to make pretty early on— we’re not a direct service provider, so we immediately wanted to think about how to support the organizations we partner with that are, because we saw them having a critical need. 

But I think one of the most difficult things for NEXT has really been focus. And it’s because it’s harder to say no to something that you think is a good idea or that you really want to do. It’s easier to say yes to a lot of things. But if you focus, that’s when you see the biggest results. And I think there were some initiatives and programs we had to say, “No, that’s not working.” OK. We’re going to have to put that aside, lessons learned, and how can we take what we did there and turn it into something else?

And so, an example of that for us and a huge topic right now, if I could talk about – the home space. We talked about 21, 22 end services, but a huge conversation in many areas is: Where can autistic individuals live? And how does that work? And families are thinking about this every day. And in this instance, I’m talking generally about autistic individuals that need greater support. 

So, we had really, for the last few years, tried to tackle this space, and we piloted a few programs. And what we ended up realizing was that: It’s hard to be sustainable. And so, where we could focus was the area of direct support professionals, which is in a huge industry right now that’s having challenges. It’s a workforce challenge situation as well. 

And we are piloting a model. We’ve been using it. So now we’re going to be piloting it with a great partner, Arc Westchester, again. And the idea is to really enhance the direct service professionals’ training and learning so that you see exponential benefits for the client, if you will. And it’s about choice and opportunity. Too often, I think some of the training for direct support professionals can be very ‘check the box.’ And that’s OK. You need to do those things. But how do we give them the tools to really engage and involve with the client? 

So, an example might be a young man who doesn’t do his own laundry. He can, but you have to engage in a way to teach him to do that. And I think sometimes it’s about showing people the right way. And direct support professionals just need additional training. And I think organizations welcome it. I think states will welcome it. And it’s the one way that we can impact, no matter the community living setting or living situation…because it’s not one size fits all. Some people may elect this community living setting. Others may elect this. But the one consistent piece is the direct support professionals. 

You also have different laws among states. When you think about trying to roll something out and really make a systemic change, that’s the common piece. And so, we are working on this model. We have the model. We are working on implementing the model and piling it in with Arc. And I’m excited about that piece. And I think it’s something not being talked about enough, but we really want to change the narrative on that topic as well. 

Denver: That’s a good lesson. I mean, it sounds to me what you do is you find an area that you want to impact. You say no to everything in that area, except the point where you can have the greatest leverage. And you focus your time and your energy and your resources at that leverage point, and then hope it disseminates from there. Because to try to tackle it all, you would just be superficial. So, this is sort of the way you’ve gone about it, if that would be a fair summary.

Gillian: I think it is. And I think that’s a really hard thing. You asked me the question about my position. I think that’s a really hard thing for someone in my position to do. Because there might be a really great opportunity, might even come with funding, but you have to focus.

Denver: Well, I think Steve Jobs said once that the key to innovation–and he did a little bit of that at Apple, I guess–he said he found to be the key to innovation was saying no. And I remember also along those same lines, he said, one of the things he was most proud of at Apple was that he could get all the products that they created on one coffee table. And that just has a lot of No’s to it. You know what I mean? And it’s not sometimes the way we think. 

Well, along those lines, how do you think you’ve changed as a leader? And how has this past year, year and a half, changed or informed your leadership going forward for the rest of your career? 

Gillian: I think this has been a really pivotal year for me, to be honest. Someone asked me the question recently about this topic and I said, “I think the biggest thing I’ve taken from it is to listen more and to lean in sometimes to your blind spots,” and that it’s OK to say, “OK. Thank you for pointing that out.” 

And that we, as an organization, have the power to change something. And that is monumental, I think. And I could not be more grateful for the board and team we have. I mean, to have a group of people behind you that support that, I think is unique in philanthropy.

Denver: So what is next for NEXT? And what has you particularly excited or hopeful for at the moment? 

Gillian: I think what’s next for NEXT is launching these four strategic initiatives in the next 8 to 12 months. We have a number of them launching soon. And while it may seem to some like a really challenging piece of it, I enjoy launching and then being able to see what’s working and what’s not, and reiterating. And I think that that is what we will be doing. 

And I’m really excited about the launch of the initiatives we talked about today. I’m excited about adding new, diverse perspectives to our organization, which is a top priority. We’ve already begun to do that.  And I really am excited about where NEXT is going. We have our 20th anniversary coming up in about a year, year and a half, and I think you’ll be seeing some big things from us then. 

Denver: Well, I’ll be watching, you know that. 

Tell us about the NEXT for AUTISM website, some of the information visitors will find there, and maybe how they can help support this work if they should be so inclined to do so. 

Gillian: Sure. So our website, I honestly believe, is a wealth of content. That was one of the things COVID drove us to do. What else could we do during that moment?

So, I think you’ll find, users will find a lot of webinars, a lot of videos, a lot of useful content and resources to go and look at. And I think that we have an event coming up on December 7. That’s probably our next thing. That’s a community-based fitness event because health and wellbeing is really important as well. It’s called Bootcamp. And we partner with The Fragrance Foundation and AARMY. And I think that is a great way to get involved if anyone’s interested.

Denver: Well, thanks Gillian, for being here today. It was such a pleasure to have you on the show!

Gillian: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity.

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