The Evolution of Young Adults with Learning Difficulties 

18 Dec by Transition USA

The Evolution of Young Adults with Learning Difficulties 

Today more than ever, young adults with learning difficulties have the opportunity to live full and independent lives. While the evolution from living at home with close supervision to being more independent can seem daunting — no matter what that looks like for each person — it is certainly not an insurmountable goal. When young adults have the chance to learn life skills for college and healthy living before striking out on their own, it gives them the strong foundation they need for success.  

Evolve with a Transitions Program 

Programs at Transitions are specifically designed to help students evolve from relying on constant support to practicing self-management and self-determination. The focal topics of Transitions programs include:  

  • Developing management skills for college, career, and life 
  • Improving social skills and competency  
  • Learning best practices for healthy living 

By focusing on these critical skills for independent living, students experience increased confidence and support as they evolve and move toward their future independence.  

Advancement of Skills to Succeed 

No matter what a person’s abilities may be, certain crucial life skills must be learned and mastered before venturing out into independent living, whether that means attending college or getting a job. For young adults with learning differences, a life skills program that has been developed with autism in mind can present many helpful opportunities for them to learn and practice these skills.  

Transitions programs give their students a chance to develop new skills and practice existing skills in a safe environment. For instance, classes are rigorous and unpredictable enough to imitate actual college or career settings, while still providing a safe and supportive environment for learning.  

A Transitions life skills program for teens with autism is built around the core skill set of self-advocacy and self-knowledge. The evolution of a Transitions student’s skills may include the following:  

  • Get to know their own strengths, challenges, and desires 
  • Develop goals and an action plan 
  • Learn and begin to use self-management skills 
  • Learn new academic, career, and life success skills 
  • Develop hobbies, interests, and leisure skills 
  • Practice new skills while learning to live independently  
  • Practice self-management for self-determined success 

By learning, practicing, and advancing these crucial life skills, students with learning differences are set up to succeed in many different environments, including college, career, and independent living.  

Students at Transitions learn life skills, management skills, and gain increased confidence

Curriculum Overview 

The Transitions core curriculum for autism life skills includes support from trained clinical team members and peer mentors as students complete activities that address the five core areas: social skills, health and wellness, independent life, self-management, and self-advocacy and leadership. 

The Transitions curriculum requires students to set their own personal goals. Each plan is based on a Personal Outcome Measures® interview from the Council on Quality and Leadership.  

Using the results of this interview, students can begin developing a custom track to develop and practice life skills, including self-determination. Self-determination skills include accepting their disability and how that disability affects learning, understanding which support services are personally necessary for them, knowing how to describe their disability and advocate for support, and developing the determination to overcome obstacles.  

Transitions uses a Self-Determination Scale, which is a student self-report measure of self-determination designed primarily for use by teens and young adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities. The Self-Determination Scale assists students as well as Transitions educators in identifying strengths, areas of support, and instructional need in self-determination. Students also have the opportunity to interact with peer mentors, who assist in daily living and reinforce learned skills.  

Life skills for college and healthy living are an important foundation for a happy, independent life.

Developing Lifestyle Confidence 

Many specific independent living skills are taught and practiced in the Transitions program, such as developing processes for self-care, establishing study habits, and mastering living tasks like grocery shopping and budgeting. However, perhaps the most important skill that is developed is confidence. Confidence can be practiced and learned like any other skill. Building the confidence to advocate for themselves — and having the self-awareness to know when that advocacy is necessary — can have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of students as they move forward.  

It is not only in school settings where self-advocacy is necessary. Young adults will also need to advocate for themselves in the workplace, where accommodation may be required, and even in social and leisure situations.  

Learn More About Our Programs 

Many families of young adults with autism and learning differences have benefitted from the range of Transitions programs available. Whether you are a young adult with autism or are a parent, you can explore the different programs available at our Mayfield, Albany, and Cobleskill, NY, campuses. Families can choose from weekend experiences, summer immersion programs, and full-year programs to prepare students to live independently after high school.  

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