Our vision is to provide support to people with autism and developmental disabilities so that they may live meaningful and rewarding lives - filled with friendship, learning and opportunities to grow. We will engage and inspire our local community members to partner with us and recognize that all will benefit from these relationships.
Our mission is to provide homes and opportunities for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. We offer high quality personalized services that enhance each person’s independence, dignity and continued growth. As a non-profit community organization we are dedicated to increasing public understanding of the people we serve and their ability to be contributing members of the community.
CLASP’s roots run deep within our community and with the families of those people we serve. In 1976 a small group of families who had children with developmental disabilities who were all in the same school class, began planning weekend activities together. These activities grew to become routine, and the group began to grow. In 1978 this group began to discuss the future of their children as they grew to be adults and would no longer be involved in the school system. In 1982 the group developed a limited partnership and opened CLASP's first group home on Kings Highway in Westport. Since that time, CLASP has added a dozen more homes and an apartment program to support the ever growing list of individuals needing these services. Family and community involvement continue to be a strong focus of the organization as we grow and add programs to meet the needs of people in greater Fairfield County.
President Tracy Flood
Tracy started in 1984, working weekends while finishing grad school. Her story is very similar to many other CLASP folks. She saw this as a short term job opportunity and later realized was her calling and passion and has become her extended family. Her favorite thing about CLASP is the opportunity to learn something new every day, and to have the chance to get to know so many amazing people. firstname.lastname@example.org
VP of Finance Michele Markelon
Michele started at CLASP in 1989 as our bookkeeper. In 1992 she took over as VP of finance. Michele loves that she’s making a better life for the people CLASP serves. email@example.com
VP of Quality Assurance Patricia Richards
Patty was introduced to CLASP when she did some consulting for a person we served in 1991. She started as a program director, became the Director of Quality Assurance in 1996 and has held the VP Quality Assurance position since 2002. Patty loves that CLASP’s focus is that everyone is an individual and that we tailor services to meet their particular wants and needs.
Director of Human Resources Jeannine Howard
Jeannine started at CLASP as a part time bookkeeper with insurance responsibilities in 1992. She has been in our HR Department for many years. Jeannine says the best part of her day is a “client moment” in her office.
Senior Program Director Siobhan (Clancy) Horan
Clancy started in 1983 as a Residential Instructor at our first CLASP group home on Kings Highway, the second day it opened. She rose through the ranks to her current position as Senior Program Director, which she has held since 2006. Clancy loves that she has been able to share in the lives and experiences of so many wonderful residents.
Program Director John Tyliszczak
John began his CLASP career in 1991 as a manager at our Woodside Circle group home, (which later became our Webb Road home.) From Webb he moved over to Blue Ridge in Wilton and in 2005 became the Program Director for the Westport group homes. What John loves most about working at CLASP is that he can do good things for people and that makes him feel good.
SLA Director Jen Saracin
Jen started at CLASP in 1989 when she was 17. Over her 20+ years she has held almost every position at CLASP, and worked at virtually every site until taking charge of the apartment program in 1999. Jen loves CLASP’s willingness to step “outside of the box” for the benefit of the people we serve.
Development Director Robin Hammond
Robin started at CLASP in 1999 as a part time administrative assistant. She became Development Director in 2007. Robin loves that she’s able to make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis.
Manager of Accounting Processes Octavia Catana
Octavia has worked at CLASP since 2006 and earned her MBA from the University of New Haven and her BA in engineering from Polytechnical University of Bucharest/Romania. Octavia loves the “ CLASP family atmosphere”.
Behavior Specialist Tina Martire
Tina became part of CLASP's family in 1992 when hired as the Behavior Specialist. Tina has readily helped out, wearing many hats at CLASP, including resident go-to artist! Her happiest part of being here, is being part of the heart of the CLASP family.
Board of Directors
Julie McNamee, Chairman
Julie has worked in the field of Child Care for over 35 years, and has developed and manages her own child care program. She has 4 grown children and 2 grandsons. Julie is a dedicated volunteer for Special Olympics as well as being actively involved in other recreational programs for young adults with developmental delays. Her daughter is a very happy resident of a CLASP group home. Julie joined the CLASP board in 1996 and has held the position of Chairman since 2005. She currently resides in Fairfield with her husband, Tom.
Lisa Parrelli Gray
Bruce Katz, Vice Chairman
Bruce, an attorney and CPA, is the brother of one of the people we serve. His hobbies include sailing, running, and home improvements. He has been on the CLASP Board since1989.
Marc started in the mortgage business in 1993 after getting his degree in Economics and International affairs from the University of Maine and went on to join Landmark Financial Group. He grew up in Fairfield and Easton and currently resides in Darien. Marc is a devoted brother to Ben, who has lived with CLASP since its inception. He enjoys crewing on a sailboat that he races with the Norwalk Islands Sailing Fleet in his spare time. Marc joined the CLASP Board in 2009.
Elsa’s educational background has been a journey, from English teacher, to vocational rehabilitation counselor, to school psychologist. She has worked in community agencies serving children and adults with special needs, as well as in the public school system. She retired after working as a psychologist for 32 years in the Norwalk school system. Since retiring, she has done volunteer work in Carver Community Center, ABC and the Fairfield library, among other organizations. She joined the CLASP Board in 2011