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Criteria, Tuition & Evaluation

Supporting your desire and ability to live independently.

Participant Qualifying Criteria

The First Place Transition Academy accepts individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Age 18 years or older and completion of high school or learning resource program.
  • Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
  • Completion of basic self-care needs, including:

    • Can dress and bathe themselves without physical prompting
    • Can complete personal hygiene tasks without physical prompting
    • Can feed themselves without physical prompting
    • Has independent toilet skills and no nighttime enuresis
    • Can take and manage medication with oversight
  • No current or chronic history of addiction or serious mental illness.
  • Ability to participate and learn in a small-group setting.
  • Ability to communicate wants, needs and discomfort/illness.
  • No recent history (within the past 12 months) of severe aggression toward self, others or property, including self-injurious behaviors.
  • Skills to safely function in their apartment and in the community without direct supervision during non-structured times.
  • No interfering behaviors requiring intensive, one-on-one intervention.
  • Expressed desire and willingness to participate in instruction, employment and clinical programs, and to include parents/guardians in communication regarding progress.

Academy applicants take part in interviews and assessments with SARRC for clinical program approval; family members or legal guardians are also involved.

If you meet these criteria and are interested in learning more about the curriculum for adults with autism at the First Place Transition Academy, please complete the contact us form


Annual Transition Academy tuition includes the apartment lease, utilities, community college tuition and instruction, and employment and clinical services. During years one and two of the program, participants live at First Place–Phoenix in one of the four four-bedroom suites as they progress to more independent living.

Note: Insurance funding is subject to ongoing reauthorization and is not guaranteed. In the event that there is a lapse in funding, the student and student’s guarantor will be responsible for the full annual tuition of $86,700 or $7,909.60/month.

Baylee Barradas Scholarship Fund

In celebration of Baylee’s life and enduring spirit, First Place AZ has established the Baylee Barradas Scholarship Fund.

Baylee was one of our first Transition Academy students. She filled our world with music, smiles, style and fashion, animated conversations and a dogged desire to live more independently. Baylee was a trusted and thoughtful friend and neighbor to many, and often invited others to join her for live music or to prepare and enjoy community meals—and many celebrations.

Guided by her big heartedness and the cheerleader rooted in her DNA, this scholarship will offer others the chance to succeed. Please see the program criteria above.

We thank donors for making this fund possible and the privilege to honor Baylee’s strength, courage and character.

To learn more about Baylee:

In her quest to always help others, Baylee joined several classmates in recording this video about women living with autism. Baylee’s honest heart, courage to be herself, and kindness toward all two­ and four-legged friends and family members shine through!

Clinical Approval Process

Applicant interviews are part of the evaluation process, but they are not the total basis for deciding whether the applicant will be considered. In addition to the information gathered during the on-site evaluation interview, we will request information from the referring agency that documents an applicant’s ability and outlines the social, educational and work history of the applicant. We will also request that you obtain information from teachers, doctors and supervisors, if available.

  • When the intake packet and all of the requested materials have been received, the screening committee will review the information. If the documentation indicates the First Place Transition Academy is not an appropriate program for the applicant, or the applicant does not meet the clinical program requirements, an interview will not be scheduled and the applicant will receive a letter of non-acceptance.
  • If the screening committee decides that the First Place Transition Academy may be appropriate, an interview and assessment will be scheduled. Applicants are contacted and informed of the date and time of the interview.
  • The evaluation interview is crucial to the success of the potential participant and the First Place Transition Academy program. Ideally, the participant will have taken a prior tour and have some knowledge of what they will learn at First Place. The applicant will be taken to a separate area from the parent(s) or guardian(s) for his/her interview. The parent(s) or guardian(s) will meet with staff to receive more information. The interview process includes an explanation of the program (if no prior tour was arranged), a Q&A period for the family and the interview of the applicant with the evaluation committee.
  • The interview gives prospective participants the opportunity to tell the committee about themselves. We believe this interview and visit also enable applicants to be better prepared to make a decision whether they choose to enter the program.
  • The First Place interview procedure is structured to identify whether applicants are extremely motivated and express a commitment to live independently, increasing the likelihood that individuals are prepared to complete the program.


If the applicant meets the entrance criteria, the First Place Transition Academy Program Assistant will contact you about next steps.

Outcomes from evaluation:

  • Applicant chooses to participate in the First Place Transition Academy program.
  • Applicant has the motivation and ability to complete the program in the expected time frame.
  • The applicant’s individual needs can be appropriately served by the program staff and/or community resources.
  • The program is able to provide the least restrictive environment for the applicant.
  • The applicant is prepared to enter the program. If not, the interview committee will make suggestions to help the applicant better prepare him/herself before being accepted to the program.
TA Registration now open

Registration now open for Transition Academy 2023-25

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