Our daughter, Christine, aged out of Decatur High School in May 2013. As the transition time approached we searched the metro area for programs that would bridge the worlds of school and adult life. We found a number of programs that exclusively provided job training. However, Christine wasn’t yet ready for an intense full-time job training program. We also came upon a number of “day programs” which offered opportunities to be around other young adults with disabilities, but they tended to be isolated from the larger community and provided little in the way of social-emotional skill development. We wanted more for our daughter than these programs could provide. After months of searching and visiting various programs, we became a bit discouraged. Then, we learned that what we had been seeking was right in our own backyard. A friend mentioned The Community School to us and we met with Dave Nelson, the director. After our meeting with Dave we knew we had found the right place for Christine.
The Community School offered us everything we had hoped for. The staff is not only caring, but highly skilled in working with young adults on the autism spectrum and helping them to develop their social-emotional skills.
The Community School offered us everything we had hoped for. The staff is not only caring, but highly skilled in working with young adults on the autism spectrum and helping them to develop their social-emotional skills. While they have a nice facility, The Community School is aptly named; their classroom is really the surrounding community. The young adults like our daughter go on outings in the community at least weekly to practice their skills of planning, working together, communicating and interacting with others in their community. In addition, they volunteer with a variety of local businesses and community organizations where they learn how to interact with employees, supervisors, and customers in a work environment. They also go on weekly hikes where they develop skills and interact with the staff and students outside of the classroom setting.
Over the year and one-half that Christine has attended the Young Adults in Transition program at TCS we have seen so many wonderful positive changes.
Over the year and one-half that Christine has attended the Young Adults in Transition program at TCS we have seen so many wonderful positive changes. Christine is more confident in her abilities and has taken on a leadership role in planning activities. She always used to be rather shy. Christine is now blossoming socially, taking joy in friendships she has developed, both among participants at TCS and elsewhere.
One recent event really highlighted how very far she has come. We mentioned an upcoming holiday dance at the Marcus Jewish Community Center. In the past she would refuse invitations to social events, but this time she jumped at the opportunity, saying, “I want to go.” She was excited about going to shop for a dress and getting ready for the event. When we went to the dance to pick her up we feared she would be sitting by herself on the periphery, as had been typical for her at large social gatherings in the past. We were surprised to find her right in the midst of things, dancing away and high-fiving friends when the final dance was over. On the ride home we asked her what she liked best about the dance and she said, “seeing two of my friends from TCS.” That was the best present we could have had this holiday season.
– Beate and Tim, TCS Parents