Independent Living Skills
At College Living Experience, students with Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, ADD, and learning disabilities master the skills required to live independently during their college transition program. Perhaps more important, they acquire the judgment to make sound decisions about daily life, including budgeting, keeping their apartment in order and shopping for themselves and their household.
Living independently for the first time can be overwhelming at best. With CLE supports, students are introduced to the responsibilities of managing all aspect of their lives while living on their own for the first time. While students live in an apartment with a roommate, the CLE staff work with each student in the areas of financial management, personal hygiene, health and wellness, community resource development, along with public transportation mobility training.
From developing emergency and safety skills, to grocery shopping and managing a bank account, CLE students are guided through each step of their transition to independence.
Preparing for Independent Future
Many students with special needs have never lived on their own before. To facilitate a successful transition to college and independent adulthood, CLE students live with a roommate in an apartment near campus. With coaching from an independent living skills instructor, students learn to manage their money, pay bills and use an ATM. Students shop for groceries and prepare their own meals. They clean their apartments and do their laundry. They take public transportation. Many students with Asperger’s, autism and learning disabilities are performing these tasks for the first time in their lives, and doing so facilitates their transition to independent living.
Students live with a roommate at an apartment near campus along with other CLE students and a Resident Advisor (RA). Apartment living, as opposed to dorm living, provides a chance to explore instruction in all areas of household organization and managing their daily life. While CLE is not a 24/7 program, students can access the RA or on-call staff support as needed.
Through CLE, special needs students experience independent living at their own pace. Students live on their own – but they are not alone. A resident advisor who lives in or near the apartments is joined by other staff members who are on hand to facilitate independent living and social activities while helping students navigate daily life, whether that means waking up on time for class or remembering to take medication. Through individual and group instruction, staff aim to provide real life experiences so they can put their skills in to practice and develop confidence in their abilities.
While achieving independence is the goal, many parents want to be kept informed of their child’s progress. CLE staff provides progress reports and communicates regularly with parents of students with special needs.