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Transition Academy

Broadening competency and skills. Building confidence and success.

Moving toward independent living takes practice.

First Place Transition Academy, operated by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), provides a highly structured and supportive environment for building crucial career-readiness skills. Through transitional housing, life skills and vocational programs at the Academy, students with autism and other neuro-diverse abilities can maximize their capacity to live independently, either at First Place or another place of their choosing.

First Place and SARRC are partnering to develop a state-of-the-art transition program for 32 participants each year as they develop more independent-living skills.

First Steps to Building a More Independent Life

In year one, First Place participants will enjoy their own private bedroom in four-bedroom suites, and share common kitchen and living space. They’ll also participate in career services ranging from volunteer work and paid internships to group and individual transitional employment. The environment is highly structured, enabling individuals to build their lives and work skills before moving on to more independent living arrangements. In year two, participants will live at an off-site property and continue their transition to greater independence.

The First Place Transition Academy is now operating from a beta site called 29 Palms, an apartment property that co-locates eight two-bedroom apartments for adults with autism with 13 units for multi-generational residents. The property has been developed by Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) in collaboration with First Place and is designed to be responsive to the special needs of adults who are able to live in more independent settings with the friendship and occasional support of neighbors. Student evaluations and enrollment are now underway.