Transitioning from high school to the adult world is a critical time in the lives of all students and their parents, but it is even more daunting for parents of children with ASDs. Sheltered programs are available for students at the lower end of the spectrum, and college or technical programs for the very high functioning students. But for those who fall in between, there aren’t as many options.
During the summer of 2012 we launched our first pre-vocational training program for four teens all of whom have participated in at least two of our programs. We were very familiar with them and them with us. After 8 weeks their development was amazing. They seemed to walk with a greater sense of purpose and pride. They also appeared to be more focused and confident.
In 2013 we hosted 8 teens with ASD with more structure and again witnessed life changing transformations. The boys received job training, social skills and a summer internship. All of this culminated in a work experience on a farm in Clear Lake, California hosted by two wonderful nuns, Sisters Eva and Marty. Our mission was accomplished and all objectives were attained. The boys experienced the world of work in a safe and nurturing environment and developed meaningful friendships and valuable work-life skills. We all agreed, “Autism is a label and it doesn’t define how far we can go”. One young man said in reference to the experience, “I feel so blessed!”
In 2014, we launched our prevocational program again with 7 new boys. It was very interesting to see that 7 of our previous boys returned to volunteer in the camp program. Again we were successful we know that meaningful employment equals economic self-sufficient, independence, purpose, and raised self-esteem. The employment culminated in a trip to Clear Lake.
The PVT program (PVT) provides a weekly pre-vocational training program for teens and young adults with ASD and other diagnoses which result in social cognitive deficits. Participants engage in 6 weeks of shared exploration, discussion, and skill development followed by 8 weeks of intern experience in our company owned and staffed social skills or summer Say N’ Play speech camp.
During the 14 weeks, participants are exposed to three clusters of skills that are critical for promoting independence and fulfilling lives; daily living, social and vocational skills. This is accomplished through 2 hours of job club meetings for weeks 1-6 and 1 hour sessions for weeks 7-14 during the intern experience. Groups are limited to a maximum of 10 participants for each 14 week session. Staff to participant ratio is 1:5.
Our center realizes the direct relationship between job skills and appropriate workplace social interaction. The PVT program approaches job training with an emphasis on social skills needed for success in the workplace. We are pleased to announce that we will hire one of our pre-vocational participants to work part time in our center while he attends West Los Angeles College. He has expressed an interest in law enforcement.
For more information please contact us via email or phone.
2016 College Cohort
“I love this program because it helps me learn more about what to expect in the real world.” ~James T.
“The class helped me learn about the interview process. Watching the role play videos helped me learn and see what people say in interviews.” ~ Angela O.
“I’ve learned how to be more confident and moving forward for the future.” ~ Jasmine P.
2015 Pre-vocational Students
“I can’t thank you enough for the amazing opportunity you gave me as a camp counselor. When I first came to camp I was super shy but after I became a changed person. You taught me good work skills and also how to save money. The trip to the sheep farm was so much fun. Thanks again for everything and I hope I can work for you next summer.” ~Joseph B.
“ Thank you Dr. Wiley for providing me with so many services and opportunities. I have been able to socialize with a lot of my typical peers which helps me feel confident in my future goals. I really can’t put into words how grateful I am especially since the things you’ve helped me with will give me the opportunities to chase after my dreams. You have been like a second mom to me.” ~ Daniel D.
“Thank you for bringing me to Clearlake this weekend, I really love everything including the people at the farm and you. I really enjoyed myself.” ~Malik Beyard
“Of all the teachers I’ve encountered in my life, you are one of my most memorable and supportive and I’m proud to call you teacher. Thank you for giving me purpose.” ~Oscar C.
Click to read “Gearing Up for Reality” article.
Click to read “A New Twist on Vocational Training”.