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Welcome To Acceptance: A Transformational Retreat Center & Eventual Village & School For People With Asperger's, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and related conditions.

Stay Updated About Acceptance

Join our email list to stay updated, follow our progress, and be the first to know when we are opening our doors and accepting applications for the Life Transitions program.

Your privacy is extremely important to us. No spam ever. We don't share your information with anyone.

A Place That Brings Hope, Growth & Belonging

We are Asperger Experts, the world's largest resource for advocacy and training for people with Asperger's & their families, and for the past 4.5 years we've been serving our community through books, online courses, webinars, online forums and in person workshops.

In February 2017, we announced our intention to create Acceptance: A Transformational Place, Our vision for a retreat center and eventual village and school for people with Asperger's, autism, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and related conditions. At that point, it was only a dream.

It is a dream no longer. I am very, very, very excited to announce that through the extremely generous support of our community, we were able to raise the money we need to start to make Acceptance a reality.

And we've secured long term access to a piece of land in which to do our work. Situated only 1.5 hours from both Seattle and Portland, our land is an old dairy farm with a pond, forest, meadow, and barn.

Today we are very excited to announce that Acceptance will be a home to the Life Transitions program for people with Asperger's, a first of its kind, immersive, real life experience, and learning program that provides much needed support, guidance, and life skills training for people aged 18 plus that haven't quite found their way in the world yet. And better yet, it will be 100% free. Yes. Really.

While we plan to charge for families and individuals to come to Acceptance and really experience the healing place that we're building, as well as offer scholarships to those who can't afford, the Life Transitions program will be 100% free.

Right now all we have on site is a barn, so we need your help to raise the money needed to construct the buildings necessary to run our program in full.

Help Us Build Acceptance

The Retreat Center

The Acceptance retreat center is the core of Acceptance. Here, individuals and families will come for a weekend, week, or month-long stay to learn, grow, & gain confidence and hope. Each day will feature a wide variety of workshops, lectures, classes and experiences on all aspects of life.

Expect everything from cooking classes for picky eaters, to nature walks to lectures on Defense Mode, gut health, resolving anxiety & more. Acceptance will also have a full staff of coaches & practitioners in a wide variety of modalities available for 1-on-1 consultations & informal chats.

Of course, you are welcome to attend as many workshops as you want, spend all day learning, or just spend a day relaxing in nature. There's no obligation to do anything or be anyone at Acceptance. We accept you just as you are.

The Acceptance Experience will include all meals, workshops & experiences, and we are working hard to make it as affordable as possible, while still making enough to create future Acceptance Centers worldwide. There will be full scholarships available for those who can't afford to come, which will include transportation as well.

The Acceptance retreat center is split into 3 main areas...

The Gathering Space

The Gathering Space is where we'll hold larger gatherings, group games, small concerts & theatrical performances, and gather to socialize, swap stories and have fun. It's also the center of Acceptance, where most activities begin and end.

We envision this space as a large, open 2 story area with plenty of seating, an awe inspiring fire place, and a small stage.

Imagine playing an immersive game of Dungeons & Dragons, or participating in an open mic night, or just spending some time enjoying the scenery.

The gathering space will also have a extremely well stocked library, full of our favorite transformative books, classics, and some fun ones as well (like Uncle John's Bathroom Reader). Inside the library will be a large collection of board games, and a small bank of computers with internet access.

Finally, there will be separate workshop rooms for lectures, workshops & daily events.

Source: A Different Dining Experience

Source will be the main dining area and true to its name, it's the place where we honor the source of food: The earth. Imagine dining in and amongst a vibrant natural setting, complete with fruit bearing trees and herbs a plenty.

Source will contain a buffet filled with plenty of fresh and delicious items, a ever-changing "build-a-bowl" station (think Chipotle), and a selection of featured chef items.

Have a picky eater? No problem! We're happy to make you whatever you'd like, or you are welcome to use our community kitchen (stocked with staples like mac & cheese) to cook something for yourself. Acceptance is all about choice and consent, so you are free to eat in the way that best supports you.

Finally, we'll hold cooking classes & garden tours where you'll get to experience a delicious meal from source to stomach, featuring some little known ingredients like strawberry mint. We've found that seeing & participating in the entire process is one of the best ways to overcome picky eating issues and learn to eat healthier.

The Spa & Relaxation Space

One of our favorite ways to get out of Defense Mode and reduce stress is by having a safe space to go relax. That's where the spa & relaxation space comes in. This is the place to let down your guard and get some good self care time in.

Featuring hot tubs, a sauna & steam room as well as plenty of relaxation, meditation and general quiet spaces, this is the place to relax, recharge, and renew. We envision this space as a Mayan-inspired sanctuary, with both indoor and outdoor elements.

The Village & School

Phase 2 of Acceptance will be building out a village, intentional community and school. We'll start by establishing a village for the staff of Acceptance, and then move on to opening it up to anyone who wishes to join.

Our vision for the village is small family homes with larger community spaces (such as a kitchen), all built using natural materials and in various architectural styles (hobbit homes, strawbale houses, tiny homes, treehouses, earthbag etc).

The school will be a homeschooling collective open to all ages with a focus on enabling neuro-divergent people to focus on their passions, and self direct their learning. They'll have full access to the Acceptance retreat center, and a special facility dedicated to exploring, learning & growing.

Here's a more detailed look...

The Village

The village is where longer term guests of Acceptance, staff and eventually anyone will live, work & play. With abundant gardens, food forests, and community activities, this will be a place full of interdependence, where everyone knows their neighbor and we live & work together in community.

We envision this space to be filled with a wide variety of styles that fit within our natural theme, and are working with our architects to make this vision a reality.

The Phoenix School

Let's face it: Most public schools aren't built for people with Asperger's or other issues, and trying to overhaul the current school system is a massive undertaking. Instead, we're creating an entirely new "school" experience from the ground up.

Intimately woven into life, The Phoenix School is unlike anything you've ever seen before. Based on the values of consent & trust, and founded in the research of Dr. Peter Gray among others, this will be a place for kids of all ages to learn, thrive & grow.

Instead of homework, grades & set activities, our philosophy is to give kids the tools & guidance they need, and allow them to direct their own learning, while still providing structure. In short: They know best, and we'll just provide the catalyst.

More details on The Phoenix School will be coming as we embark upon building out Acceptance and the village, and we expect to open within a few years.

The Community Maker Space

Calling all tinkerers, dreamers, creatives & engineers. This is your space. Since we intend to be as self-reliant as possible at Acceptance, we'll need a full wood shop, metal shop & maker space for the community to use.

You know that crazy idea you've always wanted to make? Here you'll have the tools and resources to make it happen. Everything from mechanical devices to beautiful paintings will be made in the maker space, and we look forward to seeing what happens when you give people with Asperger's the tools to unleash their creativity in full.

The Life Transitions Internship Program

Learn Life Skills. Grow As A Person. 100% Free (Really).

This is very exciting for us. We often have parents and people on the spectrum worry about what their children are going to do after they "age out" (aka become 18) of most services. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of help out there, and the help that is out there costs tens of thousands of dollars per semester.

Until now. The Life Transitions program at Acceptance will be a place for young adults to come, learn real life living skills and get paid to do it. They'll be fully supported by the entire Acceptance staff, and meals & accommodations will be included.

Right now we could start the program, but unless someone wants to live in a tent for 6 months, that isn't going to happen because we don't have any facilities yet.

With your help though, we'll create the facilities we need to start the Life Transitions program and the Acceptance Retreat Center. If you'd like to see this program become a reality, donate to our fundraising campaign here or get in touch by emailing us at hello@findacceptance.be

We'll begin taking formal applications once we have built our phase 1 facilities, but feel free to contact us if you are interested in applying early.

The Location

After thoroughly looking throughout the Pacific Northwest, we've settled on the perfect spot: A 20 acre former dairy farm with a pond, forest, meadow, barn and plenty of room to expand.

Our site is only 1.5 hours from both Seattle & Portland, and located 15 minutes from Centralia, Washington.

There's a convenient Amtrak train station in Centralia, which connects Portland & Seattle to us with ease.

All of this means that while Acceptance may feel remote, it is close to all the amenities of modern society. There's grocery stores, schools, and a hospital mere minutes away.

Get Involved

There Are 3 Main Ways You Can Help Create Acceptance

In order to construct the buildings we need to bring Acceptance to life, we'll need all the help we can get. Of course, there are a lot of expenses in creating and running a place like Acceptance, and we plan to mitigate as many expenses as possible by growing our own food, using solar, hydro & wind for power and using natural building techniques like cob, strawbale, and earthbag but this project will still take a combined effort to pull off.

In order to start this project, we're raising $750,000 via a crowdfunding campaign. This money will go to starting construction, as well as purchasing 2 adjacent pieces of land (a 58 acre plot and a 20 acre plot), which will allow us the space to create the village & school.

In addition, we're seeking funding through grants, donations, and other sources, so if you can connect us to someone that can help, please contact us.

Finally, we're seeking the guidance of specialized experts & people skilled in the trades. So if you'd like to help bring Acceptance to life, choose an option below. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we'll get back to you.

Common Questions & Contact Info

Contact Us

Have questions about Acceptance? Check below to see if your question has already been answered. We're also posting new updates on the Acceptance Facebook page.

Still have questions? Want to offer your expertise or time? Propose a partnership? Help us with fundraising? Something else? Email us at hello@findacceptance.be or call us at (360) 447-8020 and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.

About Us

Acceptance is brought to you in part by Asperger Experts, the world's largest training and advocacy organization for people with Asperger's. You can learn more about AE here.

The core team that has been developing Acceptance is a diverse, talented and skilled group of individuals. Meet them below...

Danny Raede, Director

Danny Raede is the Director of Special Projects at Asperger Experts and the Director of Acceptance, and was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 12. Growing up, he always had a longing to live in a community that is in line with the values of acceptance, consent, and trust, and he is VERY excited to do his part to make Acceptance a reality.

At Acceptance, he is in charge of the greater vision, expansion plans and overall curriculum.

He spends his off time reading books, cooking and enjoying the outdoors.

Seth MacNeely, Projects Director & Lorax

As projects director, Seth provides the logistical structure, steady hand, and coordination that will help Acceptance become a successful reality.

While never diagnosed with Asperger's (there wasn't a word for it in those days), Seth was one of the first generation of kids to be treated pharmaceutically for "hyperactivity." With two of his own three children labeled as ADD and ADHD, he is keenly aware of the challenges that we all face.

Seth has spent the last 20 years working in leadership roles within corporate America and the last 10 doing large-scale project management for a company with revenues in excess of 10 billion annually. While successful, his greatest love has been for Nature and the healing connections it can bring to people.

In addition to graduate work in organizational dynamics and human resources, Seth is a classically-trained actor who spent 10 pre-corporate years working professionally in San Diego - feel free to ask for help with Shakespeare homework!

Seth enjoys camping with his family, horseback riding, scuba diving, long motorcycle trips - any excuse to be outside, really!

Our Partners

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about life at Acceptance? Want to know something specific? Check our answers to common questions here, and then contact us if you still have questions.

Retreat Center

Are there any age restrictions?

Sort of. As with most places, we don’t allow unaccompanied minors to join us at Acceptance. You are welcome to come as a family, and as usual, anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to come alone or with as many people as they’d like.

Will scholarships be offered?

Yes! We plan to make Acceptance as affordable as possible and offer full scholarships (including transportation) to those who are unable to pay.

School

What grades will the school be for?

School aged children are welcome to attend The Phoenix School, and we plan to have a separate program for those aged 18+.

What will the school cost?

We honestly don’t know yet. We’re still working on the final details and will pass along more information as we have it. We plan to offer scholarships.

When will the school open for enrollment?

We plan to open The Phoenix School for enrollment starting Fall 2019.

Do I have to live at Acceptance to enroll in the school?

Since the school is physical, you’ll need to live in the area to attend. We plan on offering up priority spots to those living at Acceptance, with the remaining spots being given to the wider community.

We do have plans to expand the school to multiple locations across the country and the world, as we expand to more Acceptance centers.

Will the school have homework or grades?

Absolutely not! The best way for kids to learn and grow is to actually learn and grow, not demonstrate that they can jump through hoops and constantly be measured.

Project Logistics

How can I help you build the buildings needed?

We’re still working with the county and our architects for all of the major buildings, but plan to begin building small (less than 200 sq ft) test buildings, sheds, etc throughout this summer. There’s also plenty of trails to cut and we plan to also start the greenhouses and gardens this summer.

So if you’d like to help with any of that we would greatly appreciate it! Just email us at hello@findacceptance.be and lets talk!

Village

When can I move to the village?

We have a lot of work to do before we are ready to allow people to join the village. First we need to raise the money through our crowdfunding campaign, build out the Acceptance retreat center & work with the county on logistics.

That being said, we’ll be starting the village off with Acceptance employees, so if you are interested in joining early, contact us and let us know how you can help.

How do I join the village?

Once we are ready to accept people into the village, we will go through a vetting process to ensure a good fit for everyone. This process includes coming to the Acceptance retreat center for a 5 day stay and talking to us about your intentions. We will discuss from there and then embark upon a 30 day trial if we think you are a good fit.

If everything still goes well after that 30 days, the community will make its final decision. Once you join, you’ll be expected to co-create your living area. That means helping with the design & construction. We find that when people help create a space, they feel much more connected to it and the greater community.

Land

What infrastructure is already on the property?

Not much. There’s an old barn which has power, and an old house, which Seth’s family is living in. That’s why we will be busy throughout the summer installing solar panels, running water lines, constructing greenhouses, etc. We’d love your help!