Celebrating the Transition to Independence

Tue, July 02, 2019

YAI staff pose with Jason, a participant of YAI’s Transition to Independence program.On June 27, YAI staff threw a summer-themed party to celebrate people we support who completed this spring’s Life Skills, a class provided by YAI’s Transition to Independence program.

Designed for youth aged 17 to 21 on the autism spectrum, the program offers a choice of three classes: Kitchen Skills, Yoga Mindfulness, and Life Skills. In Kitchen Skills, students learn how to safely and independently prepare healthy meals at home. Yoga Mindfulness covers Eastern and Western practices designed to reduce stress and regulate emotions. Finally, Life Skills helps participants develop their judgement, decision making, problem-solving, and self-advocacy skills.

The classes are part of growing suite of more than 300 YAI programs that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live more independent, self-directed lives.

“In every class, student keep a journal where they set their personal goals and flesh out their thoughts and concerns,” said Caroline Dunn, Coordinator of YAI’s Community and Family Services. “Throughout the class, we find ways to help them to achieve those goals and work through any challenges they encounter. It’s a lot of work, so we threw this party to help everyone relax and enjoy their success.”

Jason, who completed the Life Skills class, said that it covered everything he wanted to learn and more.

“Safety was something that was important for me,” Jason said. “Now I know to keep my wallet in my front pocket so no one takes it, how to be careful with personal information when I’m online, and when to get help if someone is staring at me or acting strange on the subway.”

At the end of the party, each participant was sent home with a Certificate of Completion and a “swag bag” containing a mindfulness journal, a kitchen tool set, and a safety light.

Classes take place once a week and run for 8-10 weeks every spring and fall. Classes are open to all youth aged 17 to 21 who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. If you would like to learn more about YAI’s Transition to Independence Program, please visit https://www.yai.org/services/transition-independence.