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Thank you for your interest!

Transition Academy

The two-year, tuition-based Transition Academy program offers a supportive environment that helps build crucial independent living and career-readiness skills. Participants can maximize their capacity to live more independently through our Learn4Independence® curriculum, taught by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) off-site at GateWay Community College in Phoenix. SARRC also provides clinical services.

Adults with autism have access to specially designed, individualized services, including career counseling for volunteering, internships and employment. Take a moment to watch this short video, Dylan’s Day, to experience a day in the life of a Transition Academy student.

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Your Next Step

We encourage you to carefully review the information in the links above and contact brad herron-valenzuela, Transition Academy Managing Director, with any questions you have regarding the program. Then submit the application and registration fee.

Hear from Our Grads

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During the Transition Academy’s two-year program, participants live in their own private bedroom in a four-bedroom suite on the first floor of First Place–Phoenix. The program includes our Learn4Independence® life skills curriculum with 32-semester length courses.

2023 tuition for the Transition Academy is $86,700 ($7,909/month), which includes the apartment lease, a suite of 24/7 supports and amenities, all utilities (electricity, water, cable, Wi-Fi, phone) and instruction at GateWay Community College in Phoenix, where the First Place Learn4Independence® life skills curriculum is taught. In year one, participants live at First Place–Phoenix in one of the four four-bedroom Transition Academy suites during their first year. In year two, participants relocate to a two-bedroom suite with their own private bedroom and bathroom upstairs at First Place–Phoenix as a next step toward more independent living.

The Transition Academy represents one of two residential options offered by First Place. The second option is the First Place Apartments.

A third-party payor option through AHCCCS, Arizona’s Medicaid provider, can help offset the cost of what began as a private-pay, philanthropically funded program. SARRC is a contracted vendor with UnitedHealth Community Plan, one of Arizona’s AHCCCS providers. By fall 2021, SARRC will no longer be contracted through the Arizona Dept. of Economic Security’s Division of Developmental Disabilities.

We seek counsel from the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, staffed with BCBAs who provide clinical services for the First Place Transition Academy.

Residents may live at the First Place Apartments without being enrolled in the Transition Academy. Following the two-year Transition Academy program, graduates may also choose to remain at First Place–Phoenix and lease an apartment.