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Transition Academy

Broadening life skills. Building confidence. Experiencing success.

Moving toward independent living takes practice.

The First Place Transition Academy, operated by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), provides programs for adults with autism and other special abilities. A highly structured and supportive environment helps to build crucial career-readiness skills. Through transitional housing, life skills and vocational programs at the Transition Academy, participants with autism 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 within a supportive, connected community.

Participants take part in Learn4Independence, a two-year curriculum of 32 semester-length (17 weeks each) courses taught on-site at GateWay Community College in Phoenix. They can also apply what they learn every day through community-based experiences and in their apartments, or “independent living classrooms.” Sample courses include:
  • Learn4Community 1-4
  • Learn4Finances 1-4
  • Learn4Health 1-2
  • Learn4Identity 1-2
  • Learn4LivingOnMyOwn 1-2
  • Learn4Etiquette
  • Learn4Nutrition 1-2
  • Learn4Relationships 1-4
  • Learn4Safety 1-4
  • Learn4Solutions 1-2
  • Learn4Travel
  • Learn4Work 1-4

First Steps to Building a More Independent Life

In year one, Transition Academy participants enjoy their own private bedroom in one of four four-bedroom suites (a total of 16 private bedrooms are specifically reserved for those attending the Transition Academy Program), and share common kitchen and living space. They 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 life and work skills before moving on to more independent living arrangements.

In year two, participants live at an off-site property, 29 Palms, developed in 2014 by the Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) in collaboration with First Place. At 29 Palms, Transition Academy participants continue their path to greater independence. This multi-generational housing property in Phoenix co-locates nine two-bedroom apartments for adults with autism with 12 units for senior residents who do not have autism. A unique and prospering property, 29 Palms is designed to respond to the special needs of adults who are able to live in a more independent settings as they enjoy friendships with supportive, senior neighbors. Learn more about evaluations and enrollment by clicking on the link below.

Join Us for the First Place Transition Academy Open House

First Place holds open houses for individuals interested in the First Place Transition Academy. Family members are also welcome. Come and learn about programs for adults with autism, acceptance criteria and more. You’ll also get the chance to experience some of “a day in the life” of our participants.