Colorado Springs center to teach life skills to autistic, developmentally disabled people

The tidy apartment near Constitution Avenue and Union Boulevard has it all: washer and dryer, stove, microwave and refrigerator, a TV and sitting area, a furnished bedroom and a handicapped-accessible bathroom.

All that’s missing are the 24 teens and young adults expected to occupy it — not as tenants, but as students.The apartment is one of several real-life teaching rooms at the Foundation for Successful Living, a new center that aims to give autistic and developmentally disabled people ages 14 to 21 the social and vocational tools they’ll need to transition from classrooms into their communities.

At the apartment, the students will learn to do laundry, make a bed, clean, plan meals, cook and keep a budget. In the room with the ersatz bank and post office, they’ll get lessons in handling money, keeping a checkbook and sending mail. The grocery store is where they’ll shop for canned goods and other ingredients for the meals they’ll prepare in the apartment, and the bakery is the place where they’ll practice ordering from a menu, paying for their food, counting change and beefing up their social skills.

via Center to teach life skills to autistic, developmentally disabled people | microwave, constitution, apartment – Local – Colorado Springs Gazette, CO.

Pennsylvania program helps disabled practice independence

hari DeGeorge wants to become a waitress — even if she has a lot of obstacles to overcome.

DeGeorge, 19, of North Huntington has Down syndrome. Because of her disability, she may never drive. And she is extremely shy.

But for the next year or two, DeGeorge and her twin sister, Jill, who has Down syndrome, will learn how to run a household and see what it takes to work in food service as part of a new program sponsored by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

“I want to go shopping,” said DeGeorge, a Norwin High School graduate. “I can’t wait to be able to plan everyone’s meals.”

The intermediate unit on Thursday conducted an open house of the newly renovated Dormont dwelling that will serve as a daytime training center for a program that starts this fall and continues through the school year.

The DeGeorges and six other young adults ages 18 to 21 — all high school graduates — will be responsible for food shopping, cleaning and other household chores. Each afternoon, they will visit workplaces to learn more about possible job paths.

via Disabled to get chance at independence – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Ballplayers with special needs take to field of their dreams

LEXINGTON, Mass. — With a look of determination, Mike DiCiero deftly positioned his wheelchair nearly perpendicular to the pitcher, gripped the aluminum bat with his right arm, and swung hard.

Three times the ball went sailing into foul territory, over the third base line. The fourth time he connected, the ball landed just out of reach of the pitcher, and DiCiero powered his chair toward first base. For the 18-year-old Peabody resident, it was the first base hit, in the first at-bat, in the first baseball game he had ever played.

It was a circle-the-calendar day for many families yesterday as Little Leagues around the area marked Opening Day, but the Cotting School’s baseball opener stood out, and not just because of the new artificial turf and new uniforms.

via Ballplayers with special needs take to field of their dreams – The Boston Globe.