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Our Goal

AbleTalks began with a simple dream ...

TO EXTEND THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES OF YOUNG ADULTS WITH AUTISM AND OTHER DISABILITIES SO THAT THEY CAN BECOME THE EXPERTS OF THEIR OWN LIVES

At AbleTalks, we believe that young adults with autism and other disabilities have the demonstrated desire and right to lead independently crafted and fulfilling careers. The drop-off point and subsequent state of disconnection faced are not only unnecessary but also easily avoidable.

That's where we step in. We have our sights on expanding our AbleTalks model well beyond our Arkansas headquarters.

What We Do

Students

The AbleTalks program is tailored to young adults with autism and other disabilities. We aim to maximize independence for our students during this time of transition.

Social Benefits

Participating in the AbleTalks program provides our students with individualized support, intellectual freedom, and opportunities to interact with peers.

Family Impact

We work to connect with local families searching for the best next step for their self-motivated student who may need help making personal and career choices during times of transition.

Three-Tiered Program

Each Able student’s career goal is as unique as they are. Because of learning differences and capabilities, the path to a fulfilling career will often involve an alternative track. But thinking outside the box is comfortable for an Able student. We focus on possibilities. The Able team begins at the goal and works its way backwards, breaking down expected steps into achievable objectives.

  • Independent Study
  • Group Discussion & Goal-Setting
  • Work/Life Measurement

Our Story

In 2015, Nancy Wells founded AbleTalks with the goal of establishing independent continued education for young adults with autism and other disabilities. Based in Fayetteville and currently servicing the Northwest Arkansas region, the pilot program of AbleTalks launched in June 2015.

At its core, the AbleTalks program is inspired by the day-to-day experiences, obstacles, and triumphs of the young adults in Nancy’s life, including her daughter Molly who is currently in the process of the very life transition that AbleTalks aims to support.

Here’s her story on the dinner conversation that started it all:

“It was a passionate discussion of how people with autism are sold short on their abilities and aspirations. They had goals that were more than mere employment. Though they recognized there were barriers, they desired careers that punctuate their talents and interests. And we believe that they, too, are entitled to such dreams.”

Who We Are

Nancy Wells, M.S., LPC, - Founder & Executive Director

Nancy is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a parent-professional working with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In June 2015, she was appointed to the Arkansas Legislative Task Force on Autism through which she will help make recommendations on treatment and education practices related to autism within the state. Nancy is also a coach for Arkansas Special Olympics and actively volunteers with area organizations that serve individuals with disabilities. She was inspired by the young adults in her life to create AbleTalks.

Vincent Lyons - Founding Board Member

Vincent S. Lyons is President and CEO of National Instrument dba Filamatic in Baltimore, MD. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern University, and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and a M.B.A. in Management from the University of Phoenix. Over the course of his professional career, Mr. Lyons has received numerous honors and remains active in community service. His support has been crucial to the AbleTalks pilot program.

Maggie Ivy - Founding Board Member

Maggie is a freelance illustrator and artist originally from the Ozark area who currently works in Santa Monica. She graduated from The Florence Academy of Art in 2010, pursued illustration at TAD from 2011-2014, and was involved in the mentorship program at Rev Art Academy. Maggie is our go-to person for our AbleTalks branding and designing our perk merchandise.

Tami Kirkpatrick - Board Member

Tami holds a degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Elementary Education and came to AbleTalks with hopes to use her gift of communication and love of storytelling to bring awareness and recruit new students along the way. More importantly, though, Tami is the mother to five sons for whom she has advocated and seen through various stages of educational pursuits. Ultimately, she hopes the AbleTalks program becomes a movement that communities embrace to support individuals on the spectrum and help them live their dreams on their own.