As the culmination of an effort that began in early 2019, more than 75 people gathered at AANE on Saturday, July 13 to officially dedicate the newly updated Elsa Abele Training Center. The ceremony featured testimonials from friends, students, colleagues, and loved ones of Elsa, in addition to AANE leadership and those whose lives she touched through her work.
Elsa Abele, MS, CCC-SLP, was key to constructing and implementing the pragmatic language component of AANE’s work with children and adults on the autism spectrum. Her more than 80 workshops and trainings helped educators, therapists, and parents encourage children and adults to communicate more fully. A consultant and clinician, Elsa’s kindness, confidence, and acceptance gave those she worked with the courage to try. From 1999-2009, her training What Can I Say? What Did You Say? helped those on the autism spectrum build social skills.
A member of the AANE Board of Directors from 2001-2009 and the AANE Executive Advisory Board from 2010-2016, Elsa was an important presence in the organization’s development. She was honored for her work at the 2004 AANE Gala, Portraits of Inspiration. Elsa was esteemed for her extensive knowledge and experience, her patient guidance, and her gentle humor. The AANE community depended on her help and loved her for her generosity of spirit.
It is for this reason that AANE chose to honor Elsa's legacy by transforming the organization's training space to the Elsa Abele Training Center, equipped with state-of-the-art audio and visual technology and new furniture. With these changes, AANE will now be able to host workshops, seminars, and other types of training events that are comfortable for all AANE community members: adults on the autism spectrum, family members, and professionals.