“He doesn’t like the letter ‘i’,” said Verne, life enrichment instructor at The Arc of San Antonio. “We don’t know why he doesn’t like that letter, but it’s ok, we just write April without the letter ‘i’.” Verne gently guides Joseph’s hand to write the letters on the board. Afterward, he moves a table in front of the board signally that he is done. Joseph follows his picture schedule and knows he is only allowed to write the date once per day. Otherwise, he would continue to write it over and over on the whiteboard.
Joseph is a young adult living with a more severe form of autism. He is non-verbal and has obsessive compulsive tendencies. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is prevalent in many young adults with autism. Verne uses techniques to help guide through these OCD patterns such as placing a picture indicating that Joseph is only allowed to write once on the board.
“He does much better with the picture schedule rather than the verbal prompts,” said Verne.
The Life Enrichment and Achievement Program (LEAP) is specially geared towards young adults, like Joseph, with severe autism. This program provides more structured activities and additional support to help the participants be successful. All activities are centered around life skills such as: money and time management, literacy, technology and recreation.
One of the greatest challenges for families of adults with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities is finding a day program that meets the developmental, physical or behavioral needs of their family member. For young adults with severe autism, the LEAP program is a perfect option to help them continue on the road to success.
For more information on LEAP, contact Melissa Cornelius, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Name changed for privacy purposes.