Firefly Autism

Firefly Autism is changing can't to can for children and families living with autism in Colorado. Firefly, an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) facility, works 1-on-1 with children from 18 mos-21 yrs. ABA treatment is considered to be the "gold standard" of treating autism. Firefly makes it possible for children to make improvements that can be charted and proven not in years, but in weeks and months. All single donations of $100+ are eligible for a 50% State of Colorado Childcare tax credit.

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Organizational Overview

Firefly Autism
2695 S. Jersey Street
Denver, CO 80222
(2007)The Aspen Center for Autism
Our mission is to transform the lives of children with Autism. Partnering with families, we create lifelong relationships through thoughtful, innovative, empirical learning programs. Our vision is to have a world where the lives of children with Autism, their families and communities are transformed through learning.

Firefly Autism celebrates its 13th year of changing lives and under the leadership of our executive director, Jesse Ogas, and our chief clinical officer, Ken Winn, we are excited about our 2015-2016 school year!

We are grateful for all of you who continue to believe, support and help us raise the awareness of these impactful four words, "Your Child Has Autism." It is with your help and support that Firefly will be able to continue this critical work and change the lives of literally thousands in our state. Whether it's 1 in 88 or 1 in 50 school aged children being diagnosed (CDC most recent statistics), we have an impending epidemic and financial crisis on our hands as stated by the CDC.

Executive Leadership:
Together, Ogas and Winn are leading significant growth and building partnerships. Ogas has been with Firefly Autism for 2½ years as our VP of Social Responsibility and Development and has been successful in building a strong development arm, but more importantly building relationships with our community as a whole. Winn, who joined Firefly in September 2014, has been instrumental in building the strongest clinical leadership team here in Colorado.

Firefly West:
Following the 2012 pilot introduction of Firefly West into Grand Junction, we can now work to help children and families along the Grand Valley. Under the leadership of Michelle Gonzales BCBA, the program is growing. Gonzales was promoted to Director of Firefly West earlier this year and has since not only stabilized our office on the Western Slope, but is now building awareness and community partnerships.

Firefly is continually working with partners and autism advocates such as Arc of Arapahoe/Douglas Counties, Arc of Aurora, Arc of Colorado, the Autism Societies of Colorado and Boulder, The Autism Community Store, Proactive Wellness of the Rockies, Advocacy Denver, Sibling Tree, Family Voices and Mile High United Way.

Early Intervention is the KEY:
We know that early intervention is truly the key for our children, and if we CAN get them early, they CAN be set on a path of lifelong learning. Please help us in our efforts by donating to Firefly Autism this year on Colorado Gives Day!

Needs Statement

Our most pressing need is funding which allows us to have the biggest impact on the lives of children and families living with Autism. Such funding allows us to incorporate technology to support our students and staff, provide training to staff, families and community and allows us to fairly compensate our employees. Technology can enrich the lives for all, but for students with Autism, technology is essential. Funding invested in educational technology for Autistic learners, is some of the best money spent today for our children and their families. For many of our students, technology is their only access point to the world.
To learn more about our needs visit

Background Statement

Prior to Firefly, creating a one stop shop concept where families could find ABA treatment, occupational/physical therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy, and home tutors all under one roof was not found. The process for families prior was daunting and sometimes overwhelming as they would drive from one location to another in search of these needed services. In June of 2003, the doors of what was then called the Aspen Center for Autism opened with 12 children, 5 therapists and one program. For the first time, children would be able to have their academic, physical, speech, occupational, behavioral learning and trainings all in one place. Because of Firefly Autism, parents have the option to access learning programs, therapy, consultation and other life changing services all in one place. Not surprisingly, this holistic environment where learning and treatments are well coordinated, improves the child's ability to learn.
We offer a variety of services to meet the dynamic needs of the Autism community, which we know is an incredibly diverse group. What all our services have in common is their focus on transforming the lives of children with Autism. By partnering with families, we are able to create life-long relationships through our thoughtful, innovative and empirical learning programs.

Impact Statement

Firefly is the premier provider of Autism treatment services in the Rocky Mountain Region and we are dedicated to breaking down the barriers that make it difficult for our underserved children and families to access these life changing services. Firefly Autism offers comprehensive services including Early Childhood, two School-Age Programs, Outreach, Social Skills Classes, Parent Seminars, Parent/Family Mini-Camps and now have added Sibling Services. Serving children ages 18 months to 18 years, we have worked with over 600 families throughout Colorado since our inception in 2003. Our purpose is to transform lives by changing Can't to Can for children and their families. Our Dream is Big, Our Work is Intense but the Reward is Priceless.

Executive Director Statement

Imagine a life with Autism
Imagine your child cannot communicate then one day they ask for their favorite foods, a break or even a hug.
Imagine your child not playing with his sister . . . then, one day he plays with his sister.
Imagine that your child cannot ride a school bus . . . then, one day they learn to ride the bus.
Imagine your child not learning academics . . . then, one day they are on a life-long path to learning.
Imagine that you can turn Can't to Can . . . Here at Firefly Autism we can do just that through our scientifically based approach known as Applied Behavior Analysis.

Autism is an epidemic for which there is no known cause or cure. The latest statistics on incidence of occurrence indicate that 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 68 girls are being diagnosed with Autism. We at Firefly Autism use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to educate and treat our kiddos. ABA is the best evidentiary based treatment for Autism which has been widely researched and published.

Our success rate in positively affecting the kiddos we serve is . We offer a wide array of programs for children from 18 months to 18 years of age in school, social and home settings. "Our staff is a committed, passionate, relentless team that uses all of their skill, training in ABA, and wit to effect daily positive change for our children and their families." We have used good tools for our treatment and education strategies; however, we have developed an improved strategy to invest in and leverage technology to accelerate the positive effect of the treatment and education we provide. Technology helps every student have access to an appropriate and individualized learning environment technology can enrich the lives for all, but for students with Autism technology is essential. We are evolving our technology platforms to include iPads, smart interactive boards used in our classrooms, touch screen monitors, computers and software which will enhance our student's learning and staff effectiveness.

Thank you for your support of Firefly Autism . . . and Imagine a world where Autism does not restrict a person's ability to access life.

Board Chair/President Statement

It has been the focus of the Firefly Autism Board of Directors to help our staff serve a growing number of children on the spectrum . Firefly's approach to helping these children and their families has been profound: Firefly creates results. It changes can't, into can. Imagine the impact on the entire family when their loved one with autism can communicate, interact, and more fully function ... where they couldn't before.

Recent Firefly focus has been on adopting the latest technologies in conjunction with our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to help our professional staff be even more effective. We will thoughtfully and carefully incorporate our gold standard of treatment into our recent expansion of services, including to our recently opened Grand Junction center. With the considerable need for help to children with autism and their families, we are committed to serving more families in Colorado.

Please join us with your contribution to help make that happen. With your help, Firefly will continue to provide the highest quality service to a growing number of Colorado families on the spectrum. I thank you personally for your contribution and dedication to the Firefly cause.

Steven Gutierrez
Firefly Autism Board of Directors

A family recently shared that their child made more progress in just two months at Firefly then he did in a full year at his last treatment center. For the first time he wants to play and interact with his family rather than watch TV.

One of our families returned to Denver after a move out of state in order for their child to return to Firefly because they were highly disappointed in the treatment they received elsewhere. That child is now attending kindergarten with little support.

One of our young Fireflies came to us unable to walk and talk. He is now not only walking without a walker, but running down the halls! He is talking, too. All of this amazing progress in 11 months.

"I am writing to let your team know how grateful my wife and I are for all the fantastic work you have done with our child. Teaching children with autism is not an easy task but it seems that each Firefly teacher was hired to do just that. We have been amazed at the quality and professionalism they possess as well as their energetic, positive attitudes. Thank you to Firefly for the great work you do daily, you are making a difference in each of these children's lives."
~ A Firefly Parent
Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.

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