We believe that every opportunity is an opportunity to learn. Whether experiencing a planned lesson or a circumstantial obstacle, teammates are encouraged to take the reins. Teachers and volunteers in our program are never to “do for” a participant. Instead, we provide the tools and encouragement to set our teammates up for success!

Adults with intellectual disabilities have historically been kept in a box, while everyone else assumes what they can and cannot do. The Beyond BASIC team believes that everyone deserves the opportunity and applicable resources necessary to achieve their own definition of a fulfilled, independent life.


We never want to limit our teammates with a dead end! We set goals for each individual, expecting them to achieve each goal and then move on to the next challenge. We know that each of our friends has their own unique set of strengths and goal areas. The BB program is tailored to suit the variety of goals that our friends want to accomplish!


Individuals with intellectual disabilities typically spend two decades surrounded by resources and support systems. What happens when that child becomes an adult and ages out of their high school program? That individual either winds up spending a significant amount of time in front of the television or is enrolled in an adult day care center. We have found that once our teammates are challenged, they are excited to rise to the occasion. They meet expectations and exceed them, just like everyone else.  

Personal Stories

“Beyond Basic is a unique group where adults with disabilities can learn independent life skills. This is the only program of its kind in Charleston and it’s making a big impact on the lives of these adults. I had the opportunity to volunteer with Beyond Basic on Wednesdays when the group takes the Trolly to Harris Teeter, grocery shops, walks to Hazel Parker and makes lunch. It’s a great way to incorporate time and financial planning along with the value of exercise and healthy eating. I love that Ashton and Molly don’t tell the adults how to do every little step, but rather guide them and challenge them to make decisions. I would highly recommend you support this organization. Beyond Basic shows these adults that they are important and can live independently.”

~Sarah Ball Wallace

“Basic goes well beyond basic in the support and community it offers our adults. They have fun, they learn, they meet the staff’ s high expectations for achievement and behavior. The atmosphere is positive – my son wants to do his best everyday. I can reccomend them wholeheartedly”

~Tina White

“doing lots of fun and beneficial things with loving young people needing that extra TLC. These young ladies are very sweet and patient”

~Jeanette Craparotta

“As an educator finishing up my special education major — I was thrilled that while my daughter was shooting a photo shoot in Charleston Monday to witness a fantastic game of kickball taking place with your lovely organization and its volunteers and participants. You all were having the best time and even when one young man got discouraged you all rallied him out of it! It was fantastic and it made my waiting game a pleasant one. Loved seeing what you all are doing for others.”

~Andrea Fuller-Schuchert

“Just love the real life skills they are teaching! The Beyond Basic leaders are knowledgeable about different techniques to engage the students and are super encouraging. Exciting to see the students open up as they learn and try new things!”

~Sandi Baxley Baldwin

“This is an amazing program that provides social and educational interaction opportunities for adults with special needs. There is such a lack of resources so this is a blessing!!”

~PJ Johnson

“I have fun every Wed when I go to Beyond Basic. We learn to cook we make are shopping list go to the store and all are supplied. We work as a team to make our lunch. Ms Ashton and Ms Molly are great.”

~Melissa Johnson


Meet Our Friend John 

John Agostino is a teammate at Beyond BASIC. He is a happy go lucky man who loves animals, laughing, and who has Autism!

John has a deep love and compassion for helping people, especially his mother, Kate and sister, Julie. He has attended our life skills program for over a year and has excelled in many ways. He is using his words more, living a more active lifestyle, and constantly making new friends.

Unfortunately, with all the steps John has been able to conquer, he still is fighting a battle at home. John has struggled with insomnia for the majority of his life. His single mom, Kate, works nights as a nurse and has shared with us how tired they both are. Due to sensory issues, he has a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep without having eight or more blankets on top of him! This can be extremely hot and not very comforting, which results in John not being able to sleep. When John isn’t able to sleep, he falls asleep throughout the next day and is not able to do his best. A fairly simple, yet expensive solution would be to provide John with a weighted blanket.

After Beyond BASIC shared John’s story with The Ripple Effect and Boom Town, two amazing companies in Charleston, we were able to work together to provide John with an adult weighted blanket at no cost! The Ripple Effect and Boom Town are now working on an individual fundraising campaign for John’s program tuition. We are incredibly happy for John and Kate, and couldn’t be more thankful for The Ripple Effect and Boom Town for making a lasting impact on this man’s life.

If you are interested in contributing to John’s campaign, send us an email so that we can put you in touch with The Ripple Effect!

Ashton Johnson

Ashton Johnson


Ashton is President of Beyond BASIC. She has developed the curriculum and runs the daily program.

“Partnering with community businesses and programs is critical to the mission of our organization. We strive to create meaningful community inclusion for our teammates, with an eye toward greater independence at home and in a competitive job market.”

Molly Smith

Molly Smith

Vice President

Molly serves as Vice President. She assists with programming and handles daily operations.

“We would like our program to go beyond the confines of a physical site to recognize the strengths of our participants and see those skills implemented through the community. Like so many, our teammates learn from experience, and we work to create opportunities to practice and develop new skills across a variety of settings.”

Extra extra! Read all about it!

Fresh off the press, our team was featured in the Summerville Journal Scene! The Beyond BASIC crew was given the opportunity to partake in an all inclusive community event by attending a Riverdog's baseball game. Check out the full article below! Click to read the...
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Special Olympics Sc Spring Games

Great time volunteering at the Special Olympics SC Area Six Spring Games! We helped the City of Charleston hand out awards and cheer on the athletes! Finished the day with money skills, sewing skills, and a nice walk to the pier!
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Ripple Effect Surf Camp

We're almost a month away from our 4th annual surf camp! As always, the camp is completely FREE for all participants so be sure to grab your spots now! This year is shaping up to be our best yet! #autism #charleston...
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Volunteers Needed

We are in need of some enthusiastic and fun loving friends to help us throughout the day! You can sign up for as many hours as you would like. We are here Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am-5pm! Please contact us at beyondbasiclifeskills@gmail.com to find out more!
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Charleston Jewish Community Center


Integrative Speech Solutions


Charleston County Parks and Recreation


Charis Academy


Tony Pope


Behavioral Innovations Therapy