The mission of Aspire – as it has been since 1974 -- is to positively affect the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families. Aspire strives to: enable individuals with severe disabilities to attain the fullest possible employment, productivity and participation in an integrated community; improve living conditions in all circumstances; involve persons with severe disabilities in decision-making processes affecting their lives; and mobilize human and financial resources to fulfill the mission.
Aspire’s primary focus is to provide Early Intervention services to children up to age 3. Children who are served are considered at risk for a variety of issues including Down syndrome, autism, hearing and vision loss, speech and motor delays and mental health. The agency has a multi-disciplinary team that includes Early Intervention specialists, occupational, physical and speech therapists, and social workers. Every child served has an individual family service plan (IFSP), which is similar to the individualized education plan (IEP) used by school districts once the child enters at age 3.
Aspire also has an Early Support Program (EIPP), one of only eight in the state. The goal of that program is to reduce infant mortality by identifying risks to parents and babies, often before the babies are born. In 2014-15, approximately 11% of children served by Aspire (as compared to 2.4% statewide) came through this program. The agency also runs the Aspire Early Education Center, a pre-school that is open to typically developing children and those with mild developmental delays.