Traditionally, support services for those who have the Autism Spectrum Disorder have long focused on early childhood intervention and school-based programs. Due to the success of early intervention, the need for more comprehensive transition services after high school is growing. In the first few years out of high-school, over half of people with disabilities have neither held a job nor enrolled in college. With the right services, however, people with disabilities can achieve real independence and a successful adult life. These are the top 5 innovative, LA based social-service agencies that are helping transition-aged adults with disabilities find their wings and fly.
Independence Plus has revolutionized the way supported living services are approached. Founders Gavin Linderman and Kyle Cadman have created a cutting-edge agency that specializes in providing in-home support to transition-aged adults wanting to move out of their family’s home and into their own apartment. Using modern, mobile app technology based teaching methods, the Independence Plus team helps clients master the skills needed to live a confident adult life. With a significant presence and faculty relationships on all West LA college campuses, including UCLA, Independence Plus encourages their clients to pursue further education and aids them in accessing all of the on-campus resources available.
Independence Plus also supports their clients in finding true membership in their local community by creating meaningful friendships, volunteering, joining clubs and typical adult sports leagues, and enjoying LA sights and nightlife. The Independence Plus vision is not only to empower independence in their clients, but to also change the hearts and minds of the community in how they perceive the people they support.
Performing Arts Studio West
438 S Market St
Inglewood, CA 90301
Performing Arts Studio West in Inglewood, California was opened in 1998 specifically to provide acting, voice, music, dance, technical training and employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities who want to work professionally in the field of entertainment. Additionally, PASW provides hands-on individualized training, career management, and on-location support for performers with developmental disabilities working in film, television and commercials. Acting a door of hope for adults with disabilities, their year round training program gives each performer the chance to explore their creativity, test their courage, show their determination and build their self-esteem. From submitting clients for auditions to developing head shots and resumes, this great organization helps train and support the participants through the whole process.
13400 Riverside Dr
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Exceptional Minds (EM) is a nonprofit vocational school and working studio that prepares young adults on the autism spectrum for careers in digital animation and visual effects. The first and only school of its kind, Exceptional Minds is a dynamic answer to the high unemployment and social isolation characteristic of today’s young adults with ASD as they age out of the public school system. They provide customized instruction in visual effects, digital animation and work readiness to prepare this underserved population for lifelong careers. Their full-time, three-year vocational program offers a crucial bridge between high school and meaningful employment by building on the strengths of these individuals. EM also offers private tutoring, small group instruction, and summer workshops for teens with autism interested in exploring careers in the digital arts.
Best Buddies Jobs
Culver City, CA
Best Buddies Jobs represents one of the Best Buddies organization’s three pillars: Integrated Employment. This program fosters the integration of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) into the community through supported employment. The program also assists individuals to locate and maintain jobs of their own choosing, by providing ongoing support and training. The Best Buddies focus is on developing competitive, integrated jobs, which allow individuals to earn an income, pay taxes, and work in an environment alongside others in the community. Best Buddies Jobs matches skilled and qualified individuals with IDD with businesses who are searching for enthusiastic and dedicated employees.
Project SEARCH and PathPoint
Los Angeles, CA
Project SEARCH is an international, one year internship program that focuses on serving young adults with a variety of developmental disabilities to experience total immersion in the workplace. Collaborating with the PathPoint organization, their workplace immersion program facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations. PathPoint currently hosts Project SEARCH collaborations with UCLA Health in Los Angeles and Kaiser in West LA. These internships provide an opportunity for participants to gain real life work experience in a fast paced, professional, integrated environment. The sole definition of a successful outcome is competitive employment for each Project SEARCH intern. Project SEARCH graduates receive effective follow-along services to retain employment.