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Support For Young Adults with Aspergers

by Judith Lefkowitz, Chapel Haven, New Haven, CT

For Young Adults with Aspergers

What if your child with Aspergers is no longer a child and is trying to transition from his/her more sheltered special needs environment to the regular world?

After 35 years of serving adults with developmental disabilities on its New Haven, CT campus, Chapel Haven, Inc. will open a new program on the campus of the University of Arizona in July, 2008.

No one said it would be easyóstarting new programs from scratchóbut after a successful launch of the Aspergerís Syndrome Adult Transition Program in July 2006, the only residential program in the country created exclusively to serve adults with Aspergerís Syndrome, Chapel Haven knew it could move on, offering its unique programming model in other areas of the country to other underserved populations.

Chapel Havenís traditional program, founded in 1972 and situated in New Haven, CT, uses a teaching model for its residential life skills, employment services, recreation and education programs. Its two year residential program offers an intensive curriculum that teaches young adults with cognitive disabilities the keys to independence. At the successful conclusion of the two year program, the men and women of Chapel Haven transition into the community where they live independently, with just enough support from Chapel Haven in all areas, to be independent for the rest of their lives.

With two successful programs to its credit, each with its own unique curriculum serving very different populations, the time was right to go forward. The new program, Chapel Haven West, is situated on the campus of the University of Arizona and will serve those with autism spectrum disorders and those with mild developmental disabilities. It too will have a unique, specially designed, curriculum. Taking a page from its Aspergerís Program curriculum, Chapel Haven West program will have Social Communicative Competence as its core component. With a speech and language pathologist on staff, the students will be taught the appropriate interpretation and use of nonverbal language in a variety of settings. This part of the curriculum will also encourage the student to demonstrate increased expressive language skills. This social communication component will be blended into all aspects of the studentís life in the program-- employment, life skills, recreation and education--ensuring a successful transition to independent living at the conclusion of the two year program. Chapel Haven West will also provide a lifetime of support for its graduates and others who wish to access its services in the community.

The partnership with the University will allow the students to sit in on classes, and to use all facilities on the campus including the fitness center and the computer lab which are part of the Disabilities Resource Center. Some of the Chapel Haven functional academic classes will be held in classrooms on the campus, and graduate students from the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department will intern in the program. Campus life will be a day to day part of the program, complete with athletic events, student social groups and get-togethers in the student lounge.

Whether itís Chapel Haven West, in Tucson, or the traditional program for adults with cognitive disabilities in New Haven, or the Aspergerís Syndrome Adult Transition Program also in New Haven, Chapel Haven takes its mission very seriously: to provide a lifelong program of individualized support services for adults with social and cognitive disabilities, enabling them to live independent and productive lives.

For information about the Tucson program, call 1-877-8CH-WEST; or for the New Haven programs, 203-397-1714, ext.113, or jlefkowitz@chapelhaven.org. Learn more about Chapel Haven at our website
Click to see the the Chapelhaven listing on ISER.


Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.

 

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