Hope Alive Makes A Difference
Hope Alive is creating innovative approaches for serving young adults with autism who need continued support in the areas of academics,life skills, interests, vocational opportunities, and experiences. In November 2015, the Hope Alive program initiated a one-year pilot adult group with the support of the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department. This pilot group meets every weekday from 8:30-2:30. Activities include center-based job practice, cooking/cleaning/laundry in the Life Skills House, development of social skills, expansion of leisure options, and community outings. For information on this pilot group or on one-on-one adult programs, please contact us.
Transitioning to Adulthood
We suggest that you begin consideration of transition issues even during pre-teen years. It is helpful to give yourself time to think about options long before decisions are required. We recommend Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit as a great organizational and informational resource.
Some things to think about include:
- College – If college is a viable option, be aware that educational institutions are beginning to provide increased support for individuals with disabilities, including Section 504 plans. A “certificate” earned through an IEP will not be recognized by most colleges and universities; a high school diploma or GED will be required.
- Employment – By 10th grade, a student with autism can be part of the Vocational Rehabilitation planning. Additionally, we suggest applying for the Big Brain Staffing database through our Project Fulfillment program.
- Guardianship – The only way for a parent to maintain the ability to make decisions for their child beyond the age of majority (usually 18) is to be given legal guardianship (a court-ordered arrangement that gives one person legal authority to make decisions on behalf of someone who has been deemed “incapacitated.”) This process may require an attorney and take months to complete.
- Health Insurance – Private insurance policies may allow continued coverage for disabled adult children.
- Seizures – It has been estimated that 25% of individuals with autism begin to have seizures during puberty.
- Sexuality – Often, sexuality is overlooked for this population. For many on the autism spectrum who require support, caregivers must consider this aspect of life to be sure that individuals have sufficient self knowledge and personal safety skills.
- Social Security – An adult deemed “disabled” by the Social Security Administration may be eligible for either Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) or Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”).
- Transportation - If a driver’s license is an option, consider opportunities to provide extra practice as early as possible. If not, think about increased training in the use of public transportation, bicycling, or walking trails.
- Waivers – Some funding is available through Medicaid waivers, but typically a long waiting list exists to obtain a waiver “slot.” Talk with your service coordinator about how and when to get on these waiver lists.
As our every-growing population on the autism spectrum grows older, the issue of post-school programs becomes increasingly critical. How do we locate potential employment opportunities that match the skills of these individuals on the autism spectrum and provide incentives to employers to hire them? How do we effectively train and support this population so that they can become competitive members of the work force?
Our answer is Project Project Fulfillment, an innovative but simple approach to this problem: the use of a staffing company coupled with an ABA service provider.
If you are interested in an opportunity with Project Fulfillment, please download and complete the pre-assessment application.
Please return this information to:
c/o Project HOPE Foundation
751 East Georgia St.
Woodruff, SC 29388
Teens and adults with autism may have behaviors that can hurt themselves, appear threatening to others and prevent them--and their families--from taking part in everyday activities. Project HOPE Foundation offers individualized support to address these problem behaviors through our Hope Alive program. Using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), we work to identify the reasons why people engage in these behaviors and teach them more positive ways to access what they want and need. These "Behavior Support Services" are funded primarily by the Intellectual Disability/Related Disabilities (ID/RD) and Community Supports waivers through SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SC DDSN).
There are four main components to the Behavior Supports process:
- Initial assessment. The Behavior Supports Consultant typically interviews family members and/or key staff and observes to determine the need for Behavior Support Services.
- Functional Assessment. Through direct observation, interviews, record reviews, and collecting data, the Behavior Supports Consultant determines what specific behaviors should be decreased (including a determination of why the problematic behavior is happening) and what skills should be taught.
- Behavioral Intervention. The Behavior Supports Consultant uses the information gathered in the initial and functional assessments to develop a Behavior Support Plan to address all the areas of need. The plan includes detailed definitions of all targeted behaviors, specific responses to problematic behaviors, and methods of teaching new skills. The plan includes a method of data collection. The Behavior Supports Consultant trains all key staff and/or family members to implement the plan.
- Follow-Up. The Behavior Supports Consultant conducts frequent follow-up visits to ensure that the plan is working, analyzes the data that are collected, and makes any needed changes to the plan.
To access this service, contact your service coordinator or visit DDSN.com.
Our Friendly HOPE Alive Staff
ALLISON PETRALIA, BCBA