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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Advocacy and Leadership Training for Middle School Students

This project helps middle school students with IEPs to gain self-advocacy, self-determination and leadership skills. It is supported through a partnership with the South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities and South Dakota Parent Connection.

Department of Human Services- CHOICES

CHOICES is a home and community-based waiver program designed to provide a wide range of services to South Dakotans who are intellectually and developmentally disabled and who meet eligibility criteria.  Services include case management, supported employment, residential supports and pre-vocational services.

Teachwell Solutions

Teachwell Solutions is a partnership of the Brandon Valley, Lennox and West Central School Districts. Founded in 1986 as East Dakota Educational Cooperative, Teachwell provides student and administrative solutions to school districts in South Dakota.

Transition Services Liaison Project

Focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities.

Activities provided by the Transition Liaisons include:

  • Training to students, families, schools, VR Counselors, and adult service agencies on transition and development of transition plans
  • Identifying and obtaining instructional materials
  • Written technical assistance guides made available for interested individuals.

TransitionInAction Clinic

The TransitionInAction Clinic generates recommended "next steps" to successful transitions for young adults with a disability and/or significant chronic health care needs. Our goal is to positively impact the post-school outcomes and quality of life experienced by these adolescents, especially in integrating education, health, employment and independent living.

TransitionInAction Clinic Infographic

Person-Centered Planning and Transition

Person-centered planning is a process through which individuals with a disability and the persons relevant to their lives (family, friends, neighbors, community members) gather with a facilitator to contribute information about the person’s history, abilities, preferences, and interests. They also share their dreams, fears, expectations, and ideas to help create a vision for the person’s future. There are many different tools available to facilitate person-centered planning including Individual Service Design, Lifestyle Planning, Personal Futures Planning, Essential Lifestyle Planning, MAPS, and PATH.

Once the information is complied, a plan is developed to assist the person in obtaining his goals - such as the type of work he wants to do, where he wants to live, and what kind of recreation he wants to do in the community - by incorporating appropriate supports. The planning is centered on the person and is an ongoing process.

While person-centered planning is beneficial for an individual of any age, it complements the transition process to adulthood. Plans for adulthood must be based on the person’s abilities, preferences, interests and needs. Transition planning usually begins between the ages of 14 and 16 as a part of the IEP process. The transition process serves many purposes. Mainly it introduces the family to the adult service system and determines the support systems that the person will need to work, live, and recreate in the community as an adult. Critical information is provided to assist the person’s team in determining appropriate goals that target skills he will need as an adult. It also provides information to the adult service providers to assist them in planning for services and implementing programs.

There is a range of employment and residential options for an adult with autism. When planning for employment, it is important to consider the characteristics of autism and their implications for vocational choice and development. The social and communication deficits associated with autism present some unique challenges for employment. However, there are also characteristics of autism that can be considered strengths such as splinter skills or intense interest areas, attention to detail, and willingness to do repetitive tasks. Often times the person will need appropriate supports to be successful in a work environment. Supports including job coaching, structure, and behavior management are implemented based upon assessment of his skills and needs.

DakotAbilities Residential

DakotAbilities has many different residential options throughout the city of Sioux Falls. Living options include residential homes, a residential home with 24-hour nursing services, apartment living, and in-home care.  Services offered at residential locations include training and assistance with activities of daily living tasks, independent living skills, community participation, activity planning and medical services.  Support is provided to each person at the level they need and choose, focusing on empowering each person to be as independent as possible, while making choices in all areas of their lives.

Department of Human Services- Shared Living

Shared living is an arrangement of services provided in the private home of a participant, or a family, in which care is provided to a participant. Shared Living is meant to provide a more person centered approach to supports that are offered to a participant where the participant and the shared living provider share a life.

Department of Human Services- Shared Living Brochure

LifeScape Residential

LifeScape has licensed residential programs for adults in Sioux Falls, helping people to live as independently as possible. Some live in apartments or homes that they rent or own. Others live in groups of four to 12 in properties owned by LifeScape. Some adults need support 24 hours a day, and others need help only one or two hours a month. LifeScape has housing options specifically for adults with autism spectrum disorders and for those with brain injuries.

Augie Access Program

A Comprehensive Transition and Post-Secondary Program for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Augustana invites young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate in Comprehensive Transition and Post-Secondary Program designed to increase employment outcomes.

DWU/LifeQuest Program

A post-secondary 2 year certification program for transition students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are seeking to gain independence and employment skills.

DakotAbilities Employment

DakotAbilities offers individuals an opportunity to participate in work based training programs at the Longfellow Center and assists people in finding full wage employment in the community as well. Individuals are expected to learn what it means to earn a paycheck, to work with others, to complete tasks independently, and develop other necessary work skills.

LifeScape Supported Employment

Many people supported at LifeScape choose to participate in training opportunities that prepare them to find competitive employment. Others utilize employment services to support their current employment or aid in the search for community employment.

Project SEARCH by Teachwell Solutions

Project SEARCH partners with Avera McKennan to offer a unique business-led transition program for students ages 18-21 with disabilities. It provides students who want to work a chance to explore careers and develop transferable job skills in an actual job setting.

Project Skills

Project Skills is a paid work experience program for high school students with disabilities in South Dakota. The program is a cooperative arrangement between the state vocational rehabilitation agencies and the local school districts.

Project Skills provides students the opportunity to learn different skills in a variety of job placements, with the assistance of a job coach.

Project Skills will help to build the student's work history, references and help them move into different and better jobs as they mature and are ready to take on new challenges.

Volunteers of America, Dakotas- Work Force

Volunteers of America, Dakotas’ CHOICES program is a community support provider founded in 1994 to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their goals. The CHOICES Vocational Training Center offers job skills training, employment search support, and job coaching for the people supported so that they can earn a living and be productive members of their community.

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