Autism academy, foundation join forces

WARREN – The Hope Academy for Autism School, 1628 Niles Road S.E., Warren, is partnering with the Ivan Komissarov Memorial Fund for Autism in working together to assist each other and those with autism

Kimberly Clinkscale and Pastor Ann Snider, both with the Hope Academy recently read about Komissarov’s efforts in establishing the fund in memory of her son and were amazed at what she has been able to do.

“We decided the two groups could work together to help one another. She came and spoke at the school and people were touched by her story, She has helped raise awareness,” Clinckscale said.

The effort is to help promote the school and the foundation in helping those with autism and their families.

The two are also working together to raise money for playground equipment and other necessary items needed to help aid the students who attend the school.

Upcoming events by the two entities include the following:

A car wash will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 pm. May 18;

  • The first annual Autism Walk will be held 9:30 a.m. June 15 starting at the school. Participants will walk three miles to raise money for the academy and Autism Speaks. For information, call 330-369-2454.

Nicole Komissarov said the memorial fund was started to assist families affected by autism and to raise awareness and understanding of autism.

“The foundation and the school can grow together working with one another in so many ways,” she said.

Komissarov said she was excited to be working with the school and to help them raise funds for better “autism friendly” playground sensory toys.

Snider said spoke with Komissarov who wanted to be an advocate for the school and help with presentations on what the school is trying to do.

Allison Smith, an intervention specialist / special education teacher at the school, said in May the children will be making pillowcase for children with cancer.

She said it is important to keep the children busy.

Smith made a special traveling quilt, which took eight years to complete, which is being displayed at Northeast Ohio Adoption Services in Howland.

Smith, along with her husband, Freddie, adopted three children, including two with autism.

She said she works with the children with autism in the scholarship program.

Clinkscale said Smith brings her educational background and her real-life experience to the table.

“She brings encouragement and help to the children,” Clinkscale said.

Smith, who herself was adopted, is able to work with the children in the center and help them with their learning and problems.

“It’s unconditional love. You find something in each child to love,” she said.

Smith and Clinkscale said they work with the parents as well as the child in dealing with issues.

Smith said parents are encouraged to get their children with autism involved in camps, trips, school activities and extracurricular sports.