Independence Prep is an overnight immersive independent living experience for high school and transition students with developmental disabilities.
Independence Prep is best suited for students who:
- are currently in 9th through 12th grades or in their school's transition program
- have a developmental disability such as:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome
- intellectual disabilities, cognitive impairments or learning disorders
- want to participate in Independence Prep
- have demonstrated success in maintaining personal hygiene independently
- have demonstrated success in managing daily medication independently
- have demonstrated success in remaining safe in both new and known environments without close supervision
- do not require one-on-one support from a paraprofessional during the school day
- do not have a recent history of being violent with themselves or others
- have demonstrated success with communicating their needs effectively and appropriately
- have demonstrated success with listening to and following rules and two-to-three-step instructions
- have demonstrated success with learning and maintaining skills
- are respectful of others
Independence Prep has been carefully designed to help students and families:
- build a foundation for independent living skill attainment and practice throughout high school,
- build a shared goal and vision for living independently, and
- increase excitement for and momentum towards living independently after high school.
If this describes what you're seeking for your family or someone you support, Independence Prep may be right for you!
Our next session of Independence Prep will be held in January 2022.
The session consists of three parts:
- an orientation session for students + families the evening of Thursday, January 6th
- designed to help you get comfortable with and prepare for your weekend away
- an all-inclusive two-night independent living experience for students the weekend of Friday, January 14th through Sunday, January 16th
- designed to help students build social connections and independent living skills in a safe, supported and fun environment
- a recap session for students + families the evening of Thursday, January 27th
- designed to help you debrief your experience while also meeting young adults + families who have successfully made the transition to independent living
Independence Prep experiences will be offered quarterly, with students welcome to join us for as many sessions as they'd like during their high school career. Slight modifications will be made to the agenda each quarter to ensure students are learning and reinforcing new skills each time they join us.
Independence Prep costs $500 per student and includes:
- participation in the orientation session, weekend experience and recap session
- two nights of lodging for the weekend experience
- all meals + snacks during the orientation session, weekend experience and recap session
- all activity materials
- a gift bag full of self care items to make time away from home easier
All Independence Prep student participants are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide a copy of their vaccination card before participating.
Additionally, all participants will have a rapid COVID-19 test conducted before engaging in our weekend experience. Any participant with a positive test, symptoms of COVID-19 or close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be allowed to participate and will be offered attendance at the next scheduled session of Independence Prep instead.
Finally, masks will be required to be worn during all in-person indoor activities. Masks will be optional during outdoor activities and while students are in their private bedrooms during our weekend experience.
Our application process involves the following steps:
- First, complete our online application form here.
- At the same time you complete your application, please submit your $50 non-refundable deposit (click the button on the application page to be brought to our payment page.)
- Once we receive your online application and deposit, we'll contact you to schedule an interview with our staff. We'll want to meet with both you (our prospective Independence Prep student) and your parent(s)/guardian(s).
- We'll also reach out to the teacher or social worker you listed as a reference on your application. We'll ask them a few questions about your potential fit for Independence Prep.
- Once these steps are complete and we've been able to confirm you meet our eligibility criteria, you'll receive an official acceptance to Independence Prep! Your final payment will be due no later than two weeks before the start of Independence Prep.
If you’d like to learn more about Independence Prep, please click here to join us for an upcoming virtual open house.
You can also view a quick 10-minute summary of our programs here.
If you can’t join us for an open house, you may contact our Independent Living Program Manager Rachel Newbill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 649-3739 x 228 to learn more.