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Autism Family Foundation Introduces The Robert J. Keegan Family Center for Autism

- Foundation partners with Akron Children's Hospital, Summit County Educational Service Center to provide full-range of services to families with children who have autism

- Center to be built in Copley Township

FAIRLAWN, Ohio, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Autism Family Foundation of Northeast Ohio today announced the creation of the Robert J. Keegan Family Center for Autism.

The center, which will be located on Cleveland-Massillon Road in Copley Township, will offer a full-range of services to help Akron-area families that have children with autism. At a press conference today, the foundation unveiled architectural renderings of the 12,500-square-foot privately built and leased facility, which will be located just south of State Route 18.

"Today is a great day for the Autism Family Foundation, as well as for the children and families we serve in the Akron area," said Barb Hudak, president of the Autism Family Foundation. "This new center will allow us to offer quality care and support to more families through a much wider range of services than ever before."

Autism is a developmental disability that affects one in every 150 American children, according to the Autism Society of America. It is characterized by impaired social interaction, repetitive behaviors and/or interests, and impaired communication skills.

In addition to housing a school facility, the Robert J. Keegan Family Center for Autism will provide children and their families with a variety of services aimed at managing autism, as well as enhancing quality of life. These services include workshops, support groups, a resource library, grants and a family liaison.

The center was made possible through partnerships with Akron Children's Hospital and the Summit County Educational Service Center, as well as a generous gift from Robert J. Keegan, chairman and CEO of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and his wife, Lynn.

"The Autism Family Foundation grew from our passion - from our hearts," said Mr. Keegan. "Success in endeavors like this doesn't happen without a great deal of community help and support. And we have no doubt that additional support will come as the passion behind this effort continues to gain momentum."

Akron Children's Hospital has pledged ongoing support for the center and will offer medical staff and resources to assist in its activities.

"We are excited about the prospect of developing a formal relationship with the center and believe this affiliation will benefit patients and families who we're both privileged to serve," said William Considine, president of Akron Children's Hospital.

The Summit County Educational Service Center intends to provide a comprehensive and innovative educational, therapeutic and supportive environment for students with autism and their families in preschool, kindergarten through second grade. The center envisions an 11-month, extend-stay program (9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.).

"The opportunity to introduce an excellent public educational program for students with autism and complex needs is important to us," said Linda Fuline, superintendent of the Summit County Educational Service Center. "This innovative program will be effective, efficient and fiscally responsible, allowing area children to access programming within Summit County."

Groundbreaking for the center is scheduled for September, and the building should be ready for occupancy by August 1, 2010.

About the Autism Family Foundation of Northeast Ohio

The Autism Family Foundation began in 2006 with a small group of people dedicated to children, families and helping those with autism and other special needs. Since then, the group has grown into a center that provides resources to Akron-area children with autism and their families.

The foundation's mission is to assist families dealing with autism and to enhance the lives of these children and their families as they develop from birth to adulthood. More information on the center can be found at

SOURCE Autism Family Foundation of Northeast Ohio
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