Our mission is to make the sport of tennis available to children with autism spectrum disorders as a means to enhance health, fitness, hand-eye coordination, motor development and to improve their social skills.
And, of course, to make sure kids have fun in the process!
ACEing Autism was founded in the summer of 2008 by Richard Spurling & Dr. Shafali Jeste in Boston, MA. as a family run organization with the invaluable efforts of its volunteers & supporters. We launched our first program at The Longfellow Club, Wayland (MA) with 15 children. In the spring of 2009 we added a second location, The Weymouth Club in Weymouth (MA).
In early 2010, after working for four years at Children's Hospital Boston, Dr Shafali Jeste (ACEing Autism’s founder) was recruited to the UCLA Center for Autism Research & Treatment, and therefore the Spurling/Jeste family relocated to Los Angeles, California, where ACEing Autism continues to grow. In May 2010 we partnered with UCLA's adaptive recreation program, which continues still, and in 2011 The Help Group, who now offer an after-school program at their Sherman Oaks campus. In 2012 we opened four new programs locations, and in 2013 we opened a further ten new program locations.
In 2014, we are having our best success yet, with recent launches at Tulane University in New Orleans and at The Shady Side Academy, in Pittsburgh, PA. Both with over 15 children participating from the start (growing weekly), with a further four new locations planned to launch in the fall of 2014. We were featured in a court report from Tennis Channel during April to highlight autism awareness month, which aired to 35m viewers. Also in April 2014, Head Penn became our ‘official equipment supplier,’ providing all tennis equipment for our children to use free of charge.
We currently provide recreational tennis programs to 500+ children with autism spectrum disorders across 30 locations in the U.S. We love what we do and look forward to seeing your family on the court with us very soon!
There are plenty of ways that you can be involved with us. If you wish to volunteer at one of our programs near you or if you are interested in starting your own program, please contact us through our contact. If you are interested in becoming one of our brand partners we would love to hear from you too! Finally, you can all make a difference and help us fund more programs, to ultimately help more children with autism spectrum disorder by making a donation at the bottom of the page. Thank you!
Shafali earned her BA in philosophy at Yale and then earned her MD from Harvard Medical School. Her interest in child behaviour led her to pursue a career in behavioural child neurology, with a focus on developmental disorders such as autism. Her research, funded by NIH, through her lab within UCLA's leading medical research facility 'Centre for Autism Research & Treatment' is focused on understanding the brain's basis for autism and on identifying early markers of autism in infants.
In her clinical practice Dr. Jeste diagnosis and treats children with neurodevelopment disorders, with focus on young children with autism. Shafali dedicates her life to the research and the further understanding of the autism spectrum.
Richard attended Florida Atlantic University where he played Division I tennis and achieved his degree in International Business. Following university, Richard went on to teach tennis while maintaining his own pro status on the tour, including managing various high profile tennis programs in Florida, Boston and Cape Cod.
Richard earned his MBA in 2008 from Babson College where he focused on entrepreneurship. Richard lives in Los Angeles with his wife Shafali Jeste and their two children Nischal and Kiran.
Alex comes from London UK, where he previously held senior positions within agencies and top ten UK's best companies such as Freud Communications, Hilton Hotels, and London's 2012 Olympic Games.
Alex has over 15 years experience in Marketing Communications, talent & event management on a global level, including working for a member of the British Royal Family before he immigrated to the US in 2013.