The Adult Autism Group began as an informal support group in Springfield, Illinois under the name Puzzle Solvers in September 2011. The first three meetings were information and planning meetings designed to acquaint individuals, parents, families, clinicians and various community providers with the vision for the group, and to get community support behind it.
In June of 2014, we began discussing the idea of becoming a 501(c)(3) organization and a human services cooperative. To help us get a better feel for how a cooperative works, members of Community Choices, a very successful cooperative in Champaign, Illinois, graciously set up a meeting at Champaign Public Library with some of their families, who talked about their experiences and let people from our group ask questions.
We then worked with representatives from the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, who walked us through the process of becoming a cooperative, helped us create a board of directors and bylaws, and took us through a long-range strategic planning process. Puzzle Solvers was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization by the State of Illinois on Jan. 21, 2015, and granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service on October 7, 2015.
As our group grew, our vision grew too. Being a cooperative limited our ability to accomplish our goals. At the beginning of 2019, we adopted a revised set of bylaws, so that we are no longer a cooperative, but welcome the participation of any ally of our members. As part of this, we also decided to reorganize Puzzle Solvers as The Adult Autism Group to better communicate the mission of our organization.