Looking ahead to adulthood!

Here is some very interesting info from Michael John Carley of GRASP. Many of our kids would probably benefit from something like this in the future. It is good to know what is out there.




Residential Life Skills Training Program

For Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Birch Family Services is submitting a proposal to the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) to develop a program designed to prepare individuals with Autism, and similar needs, to live in a “supported living arrangement.”  We are inviting individuals and their families, who are interested in such a program, to contact us as soon as possible.


What is a Residential Life Skills Training Program?


Living “on one’s own,” whether alone or with roommates, is a big step for anyone.  However, we believe that people with autism and related disabilities can live successfully “on their own” if they are given the help to do so.  We define “help” as intensive training and real-life practice in the many areas that must be mastered to live successfully in the community:  cooking, cleaning, nutrition/menu planning, food purchasing and storage, food preparation, banking community access, traveling, safety, health, sexuality, self-administration of medication, planning and participating in recreational activities, and mastering the social issues and problems that come with this big step.  All of these aspects of independent living will be addressed in our Residential Life Skills Training Program.


When will the training program take place and how long will it take to complete?


The group training program will be offered year ‘round, during evenings and weekends, at Birch’s training centers.  The short-term, out-of-home “practice” visits will take place in an apartment with 24-hour staff supervision.  These practice visits will be offered to each participant throughout the year, for varying lengths of time.  The length of time an individual participates in the training program will vary from person to person, based on their readiness for out-of-home placement.  However, we are estimating that the average length of time will be approximately 2 years.


What is a supported living arrangement?


The goal of the program is to enable individuals to live, with staff support, in an apartment in the community.  Depending on each person’s abilities, needs, and wishes, the amount of staff support, and the number of individuals living together, will vary.  However, the amount of support will be less than 24 hours per day.  It is expected that most of the apartments acquired for this project will be leased or owned by Birch Family Services.  However, in some cases, the individual may be able to lease his or her apartment directly.  For persons who participate in the training program, but ultimately require more support than is provided by this program, Birch Family Services will assist the individuals to find suitable 24-hour supervised living arrangements in the OMRDD service delivery system.


Who will pay for these services?


The funding to operate the program, for persons who are eligible for OMRDD services, will be provided by a combination of reimbursement from OMRDD and the individual’s entitlements (e.g., SSA, SSI) and earnings.


How can I obtain more information about this program and applying for it?


By calling Melinda Caldwell at (347) 543-61


3 Responses to “Looking ahead to adulthood!”

  1. bleu1969 Says:

    Could you please post the entire phone number for Melinda Caldwell, it was cut off.

    I’m definitely interested in exploring this if its available! thanks

  2. fedsped Says:

    whoops how did that happen? I will contact Birch and post the correct info later Of course they may be closed today for the holiday. please check back tomorrow. thanks for the heads up.

  3. fedsped Says:

    see latest post.

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