Posted by Bruce Wood on Jun 22, 2022
2021-2022 Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area President Kathy Lemman welcomes Jennifer Dantzler, founder and executive director of the non-profit Including Kids Autism Center. Ms. Dantzler has founded a new organization, Inspire ND, to answer that very question.
What happens to children with autism when they are no longer children? Jennifer Dantzler, founder and executive director of the non-profit Including Kids Autism Center, has founded a new organization to answer that very question.
Ms. Dantzler is an influential expert in her field. She founded Including Kids Autism Center in 2003 when autism was reaching epidemic levels and there were very few services offered for early intervention.
“If you’ve met a person with autism, you’ve met ONE person with autism,” Ms. Dantzler said. “Every person with autism has different symptoms and challenges.”
She spoke to Rotarians recently about the Inspire Project for Neurodiversity, otherwise known as Inspire ND. This non-profit project was developed after almost 20 years of service by Including Kids Autism Center.  As clients at Including Kids got older, it was apparent that more services were needed to address clients' future needs. 
Originally, Including Kids had a service line for young adults, The Center for Community Inclusion, which began in 2015 as an extension of their current ABA intensive services.  Over the years, Including Kids has continued to modify what this looks like to meet the needs of young adults. 
What is autism? Ms. Dantzler defined it as “an exaggeration of human behavior.”
With the rates of autism now being 1 in 44 children, the need is great and the need for transition services is even greater.  Nearly one-half on 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job. Thus, the need for Inspire ND.   
The ND in Inspire ND stands for “neurodiversity”. Ms. Dantzler explained Neurodiversity is a term coined in the 1990’s but is just now gaining attention.
It represents the philosophy that people experience and interact with the world around them in different ways. Those differences should not be considered deficits. For this reason, the term neurodiversity includes, ADD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, Tourette syndrome, and others.

Inspire ND’s goal is to take this heightened awareness regarding neurodiverse work environments and make it the norm not the exception. She believes we will all be better off if there is a little bit more understanding and compassion in the world for everyone.

To this end, Inspire ND helps to teach individuals with autism skills in which they may have difficulty including domestic, social, vocational and recreational/leisure skills, as well as communication and behavior/self-regulation skills.
The Inspire ND facility is specifically designed to address these skills. It includes a mock bedroom, laundry room, stocking pantry, recreation/leisure area, physical fitness equipment, and vocational training stations.
This program provides services in their center as well as in the community. Examples include working at local businesses, grocery shopping, teaching safely in the community, cooking classes, golfing, physical fitness, attending sporting events and dining out.
Part of a client’s vocation training can be working in the Inspire Store ND. The store sells items made by the clients. The store includes amazing home goods that will brighten your day and the money raised goes to a great non-profit cause.
The Inspire ND store is located just down the street from Including Kids at 19143 Timber Forest, Suite 4, Humble 77346. You may also shop online at .
For more information about Inspire ND programs, visit their website at .
While donations are gratefully accepted, Inspire ND relies on more than just donations. To learn how you can make a big difference in the lives with individuals with autism, reach out to them at (832) 790-7868.
Editor’s note: For a photo tour of Inspire ND, visit Lake Houston Rotary’s Facebook page.
Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area members and guests meet at 11:45 a.m. Wednesdays for their weekly lunch meeting at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, 2420 West Lake Houston Pkwy. in Kingwood.

The Summer Creek Satellite Club meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 8:30 a.m., at Generation Park 3rd floor Nimble Office Suite, 250 Assay St., Houston.
For more information about Rotary or membership, attend one of our weekly meetings or visit or search for our Facebook page @LakeHoustonAreaRotary.