Making Connections

As Max Champion prepared to move back to Cincinnati, his mom Alycia wondered how he’d transition from school to adult life, make new connections, and be known in his community. For five years, he attended the Monarch Center for Autism near Cleveland and was ready to start building his adult life closer to family.

To ease the transition, Alycia signed up for Future is Now, a multi-part series designed to help older caregivers and their family members plan for the future.

“It’s all about connecting with families and sharing your stories,” she said. “It gave me a much fuller view of what natural supports looked like and what they could be, even something as simple as a regular stop at the coffee shop. There are so many options to build your child’s life.”

Max, now 21, lives in his own house with support staff. He’s an active young adult who enjoys going for bike rides and walking. He also joined the Mayerson JCC where he enjoys swimming, basketball, and time in the weight room.

“He’s really doing as much as I could hope for at this point and slowly building his connections,” Alycia said.

Future is Now was a wonderful experience for the Champion family, and Alycia recently helped facilitate one session. The key, she said, is getting conversations flowing, listening to others, and brainstorming ideas for a full life.

“I think it’s so important to always be looking forward. It can be scary to think of a time when you’re not there, but the best way to handle that is to think about it, create a plan and know what you want,” she said. “Future is Now helps take those scary parts out and recognize the natural supports that may be in your life.”
Learn more about Future is Now and sign up for upcoming sessions at

This story originally appeared on our website in March 2021.