“Milestones is all about making a difference. What you see today can change. I really believe that education raises the potential for everyone.”
– Ilana Hoffer Skoff, Executive Director and Co-Founder
“The need for autism-related services and education is overwhelming. The autism population is growing and aging year after year. Milestones is here to meet those needs. We are working to make a brighter future.”
– Mia Buchwald Gelles, Director of Operations and Co-Founder
Milestones Autism Resources helps individuals with autism reach their unique potential. We focus on educating and coaching for family members and professionals in evidence-based practical strategies. Our conferences, workshops, professional development, referral calls and online resources connect the autism community with vital information, and each other.
Milestones Autism Resources improves the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum by educating, coaching and connecting the autism community with evidence-based information.
A community in which individuals on the autism spectrum reach their full potential as contributing members of society, recognized for their strengths and supported in their challenges.
It all started in 2003 when Milestones’ co-founders Ilana Hoffer Skoff and Mia Buchwald Gelles met in the waiting room of their children’s speech therapist’s office. As they began talking, they realized they both had a great deal in common and began mentoring each other through the ups and downs of autism. They shared hopes and dreams for their children. But more importantly, they shared what was working with their children and they learned from each other. They realized small steps added up, and they saw their children make real progress using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). The question in their minds shifted from “How can we help our children” to “How can we help other families?”
No fancy desks. No high-tech laptops. No big offices with panoramic views. Ilana and Mia simply sat around Ilana’s kitchen table in her Cleveland Heights home to brainstorm ways to bring education and training to the local community. Each had professional backgrounds in non-profit organizations. The determined duo decided that what Cleveland needed was a major autism conference here in town. With that, the pair took on the task of planning the first annual Milestones Autism Conference.
Ilana and Mia enlisted the support of their families and friends. In fact, both of their husbands helped shape Milestones. Rabbi Joshua Skoff, Ilana’s husband, brainstormed the name “Milestones.” And Mia’s husband, Joe Gelles, devoted hours of his time as a graphic designer creating professional-looking conference materials for the organization. On August 4, 2003, 400 people flooded Milestones’ full-day Conference on “Social Strides for Children and Teens with Autism.” Today, Ilana and Mia still laugh, admitting that they had no idea if anyone would actually show up.
The success of the Conference was a clear indication that an organization like Milestones was a necessity in Northeast Ohio and motivated the two to continue with their mission. Together, with the Cleveland community, Milestones Autism Resources looks ahead to continue raising the bar for individuals affected by autism.
View the Milestones Autism Resources videos here.