Adults with Autism Thrive at Marbridge
Over his lifetime, many thought Jason was unable work, participate in sports, make friends, or enjoy hobbies. Jason also struggled with behavioral outbursts. Though his struggles appeared to be many, by participating in Marbridge’s training program for adults with autism, he began to make genuine progress in controlling his behavior. By the fall of 2008, Jason qualified for an internship position with Project SEARCH, a professional internship program between Marbridge and Seton Medical Center Austin (SMCA). The hospital hired him soon after graduation and he worked four hours a day, four days a week. During that time, he missed only two days in the two years he was employed with Seton. Back home at Marbridge, Jason has blossomed through participating in activities that he has interest. He is very active on campus enjoying passions such as art, participation in all of the special events, and plays sports. Today, Jason has an amazing life at Marbridge.
An alternative to group homes for adults with Autism
The fall/winter 2011 issue of the Autism Advocate, a publication of the Autism Society, contained an article entitled, “Quality of Life Indicators for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum.” It listed nine indicators identified by the society’s advisory panels as key to establishing a good quality of life for adults with autism. These include Friendships/Social Life, Inclusion, Health & Well Being, Autonomy, Subjective Well Being, Academic Success, Employment, Independent Living, and Recreation/Leisure. It is with great joy that we can report that Marbridge fulfills all nine of the Autism Society’s quality of life indicators!
We provide an individualized program for each resident, including adults with autism
Since no single adult with autism is quite like another, our Individual Program Plan (IPP) addresses each person’s unique abilities and attributes in designing a care program. This what makes Marbridge a special place for adults with Autism and a viable alternative to group homes. Any program for adults with autism must consider the type of training and activities needed to assist that person in reaching his/her goals. Our residential care for this unique population is tailored to their needs and interests.
Life skills training and possible placement into jobs for our residents with autism
From tips on grooming, to fitness and exercise—residents with autism receive a variety of life-skills-based training. Marbridge offers training in shopping, cooking, money management, healthy eating choices, and much more. The goal of Life Skills training is to enable residents to reach the highest level of personal independence possible in their daily routines.
Residents with autism who desire employment are enrolled in Job Skills Training. They learn the importance of staying on task, arriving at work on time, taking directions, and adopting appropriate behaviors in an employment setting. Residents develop resume writing and interviewing skills along with learn to set goals for the type of employment desired. Marbridge residents experience success in training, finding, and keeping jobs, both on-campus and in the Austin community.
An experience similar to college for adults with autism
Employment training and personal enrichment courses were provided by Marbridge since its founding in 1953. However, in 2001 a more structured training program was developed that integrated education, socialization, recreation, independent living skills, and employment instruction. This training program now serves more than 160 residents in The Ranch and The Village communities. For adults with autism who are graduating from high school, Marbridge can provide a college-like experience.
Organized into semesters, the training schedule is based on each resident’s (IPP) goals. Generally, job skills training places within the top five goals identified in all IPPs. Job skills training is offered only to residents who list employment as a goal they want to achieve.
Our job skills training is not a job coaching program, and the feedback we’ve received from residents and families is that is differs from what they encountered in high school or other care communities, where a job coach accompanies the individual and stands by them all day. Our program trains residents to be independent employees. At Marbridge, we believe people with autism can become self-determining adults, capable of competing—and winning—in the competitive workplace. Time and again, like Jason has shown, they prove us right.