ACEing Caltech

Frequently Asked Questions

General

ACEing Autism is a national non-profit program that focuses on teaching children diagnosed with Autism social and communication skills through the sport of tennis. We are the Pasadena location and our clinics are held on the Caltech campus. Our program's main objective is for everyone to have fun! We hope that the participants can gain meaningful skills and that the volunteers can have a fulfilling experience from working with their participant.

Please visit our Info page for specific details about our program.

Neither volunteers nor participants need tennis experience. Because our program focuses on staying active and having fun, we teach introductory tennis movements to the participants. We have a quick volunteer training session before the first clinic of each season where we will give tips on teaching!

We currently run a 6-week clinic in the Fall (October-early December) and a 5-week clinic in the Spring (May-early June). Please check our info page for the most up-to-date information about our program!

Because we rely largely on student volunteers and the support of the Caltech tennis teams, we do not run clinics outside of our designated times for Fall and Spring. Many students are off-campus in the summer, so our volunteer pool is much smaller during that time. The tennis teams at Caltech are also competing from January through May, making those months too busy to run our clinics. We are hoping to expand our availability in the future.


For Parents

Follow the instructions here and we will reach out with more information. We are super excited to work with you!

We normally open registration for each program around 1-2 months before the program start date. Please check back regularly to see if registration has opened for the new program. Spring 2024 Registration has closed, see here to register for the waitlist.

Welcome! We ask that parents arrive 15 minutes early for the first clinic so that we can introduce the participant to their paired volunteers and so the participant can get used to the new environment. We try to pair the same volunteers every week and assign 2 volunteers/child (subject to variation based on support level).
As we get to know your child through the clinics, we can switch up the volunteer pairings and adjust the environment (i.e. too many people is overwhelming, so we place the participant on a smaller court) based on your child's needs.
Before each clinic, please check-in at the desk and your volunteers will find you when the clinic starts. We start with a warm-up, then transition to different drills in hand-eye coordination and racquet techniques. At the end of each session, we play a group game with all the participants and volunteers, like Red Light, Green Light.

Please send us an email at pasadena@aceingautism.org as soon as you can! The executive team meets weekly to pair participants to volunteers, and the sooner we know who is attending, the better we can plan our clinic. Unfortunately, we do not have a make-up policy.

We are NOT a drop-off program. Parents are expected to stay for the duration of the clinic or have a designated guardian/caretaker responsible for the participant on-site. There are bleachers available for courtside seating.

We don't directly handle payments nor receive money from ACEing Autism to run our clinics. We are completely operated through the help of volunteers. Tuition is minimal in order to ensure attendance and pay for supplies such as racquets, balls, nets, etc. Additionally, we provide t-shirts for the participants, snacks at each clinic, and a final celebration on the last clinic day that includes medals for all participants and food for everyone attending.

Yes! ACEing Autism provides scholarships to anyone in need of financial support. More information here.


For Volunteers

Follow the instructions here and we will reach out with more information. We are super excited to work with you!

We currently require volunteers to be at least in high school to volunteer. Additionally, volunteering requires some physical activity in order to demonstrate the exercises and to keep up with your participant, many of whom will be between the ages of 5-12.

Of course you can! The vast majority of our volunteers did not have prior experience working directly with children diagnosed Autism before our program. We only ask that volunteers are enthusiastic and ready to be active + have fun. This will go a long way in creating a positive volunteer experience. We provide training for our volunteers with teaching tips and provide active support for volunteers during our clinics.

We ask that volunteers are able to make at least 3 of the sessions in any of our programs. This is largely because we like to pair participants with the same volunteers every week to help build familiarity in what can be an overwhelming environment. We also think volunteers get more out of the experience if they are able to form a close relationship with their paired participant! The commitment level is fairly low, as our weekly clinics are only 1 hour long.

Please send us an email at pasadena@aceingautism.org as soon as you can! We try to schedule so that participants can get work with the same volunteers every week, so we appreciate letting us know ahead of time if you can't make it.

Court Leads are volunteers who have been designated to lead a court at the clinic. They are responsible for going through the steps of the curriculum and demonstrating new drills. Not every court needs to be doing the same thing at the same time, and court leads can choose the exercises depending on the skill level of their court.
We normally select returning volunteers who have shown strong commitment to the program and exceptional engagement with the participants as Court Leads. If you're interested in becoming a Court Lead, please speak with one of the Executive members in-person after a session, or reach out via email at pasadena@aceingautism.org.


Contact Us: pasadena@aceingautism.org