“Transitions” is a buzz word we are hearing a lot of these days from parents and professionals in our community. Whether it be a transition into a new college or university, or into the workforce, transitions are hard for our teen campers! This is why we created the Beyond Akeela program, to help our teens with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) succeed in these transitions! Our teens are often provided services in their home lives, and those services fall to the wayside when they move on to their post-secondary lives.
Many of the skills necessary to succeed in new environments beyond high school are skills we explicitly work on with our quirky teens with Beyond Akeela:
Executive Functioning – Beyond Akeela provides real-world opportunities to work on planning and prioritizing, time management, organization, and task initiation. Teens are given the opportunity to develop their own itineraries and menus to take control of their experience at camp.
College Readiness – Teens live in a classic college living situation, and practice managing living with a roommate during their time at camp. They also get practice navigating a college campus and speak with student services to learn about support options upon entering a new college program.
Job Readiness – Meaningful and repeated community service opportunities create a work like environment with a consistent group of co-volunteers and supervisors. Beyond Akeela staff also facilitate discussions on job searching and interviewing. Teens have the chance to connect with career counselling professionals while with Beyond Akeela, as well.
Health & Wellness – Akeela staff members lead discussions about healthy living, including topics like nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness. Opportunities to use university health and wellness center are available to our teens.
Independent Living Skills – Teens will have the chance to cook for themselves, do their own laundry, and manage their own budgets as they travel throughout Wisconsin and Chicago.
Our recent move to Lawrence University in the Midwest gives us the opportunity to more effectively deliver on this curriculum than ever before. We are so excited for the summer ahead, and the chance to change the lives of the quirky teens of Beyond Akeela!