Transitional Independent Living



Specialists in Autism Diagnosis & Treatment Since 2006

Student Videos

How a Transition Program Helps Move Your Young Adult Toward Independence

Sometimes your young adult needs more. You’ve both tried therapy, maybe even many different types of therapy, with no real progress. He or she enrolled in college courses, only to lose interest and drop out, or fail classes. His or her friends either have a similar past, or are encouraging even worse behaviors. Where do you go from here? It may be time to consider a transition program geared specifically toward young adults who have the same struggles as your child. Rather than having a therapist who works on your young adult’s behaviors; college advisors and professors who are focused only on teaching their subjects; and unstructured free time that doesn’t change anything, a transition program coordinates all of these efforts. Your young adult can grow as a person while receiving the right amount of support to keep them moving forward and learning that they can indeed do it on their own, as well as why they would want to. Consider Matt  Matt is a student who came to New Directions because he struggled with anxiety. He didn’t interact with others well, and had trouble with relationships. Through the course of his time in our program, he received therapy to learn how to manage his anxiety. He also enrolled in a local community college to work towards his degree hospitality management to help him fulfill his dream of working in a hotel. Steady Progress  Though he occasionally had problems completing coursework, the tutoring offered as part of the NDFYA program assisted him in his classes. As he worked on his degree, he received an internship as a host at a nearby hotel. His Dream Career  The hotel’s team was supportive of Matt’s work and gave him the confidence to succeed in his position so that he was later offered a temporary full-time position that grew into full-time employment. Though he could have gotten the job on his own, he may not have found a company with the right team in place to help in his growth. This would have continued the cycle he was already in before coming to NDFYA. Work AND Play  NDFYA also encouraged him to gain confidence outside of school and work through campus activities. These activities gave him the opportunity to interact and build friendships with other students. Later this continued in friendships formed outside of the program at work and in activities he enjoys, such as gaming. He is also learning what is considered appropriate in romantic relationships. Now Matt is closer to independence than he has ever been. He is not only confident in his future, but also excited about it. A Comprehensive Approach to Your Child’s Future  With young adults who need more support or a more educated approach than you can provide at home, a transition program is probably the best option. Contact us today to learn more about NDFYA and how our program can aid your young adult in becoming truly independent.

How Do You Choose a Transition Program?

How many attempts have you made to foster independence in your young adult? Do you feel your attempts have accomplished nothing? You’ve seen different counselors, attended support groups, discussed the problem with other parents. Your young adult still spends too much time at home or with friends, can’t get a job or misses too many hours, or is failing classes. Someone suggests a transition program. After investigating the idea, you decide this type of program is the best way to get your young adult into a place where he or she has the support and supervision, as counterintuitive as that seems, needed to move to an independent life. But how do you decide which program to attend? The Rise of Transition Programs As more children are diagnosed with autism and other mild forms of disabilities, we are realizing there aren’t enough resources in place to move those children from the support programs provided by schools and other initiatives into the responsibilities of adulthood. At the same time, our society as a whole is seeing a trend toward young adults of all backgrounds failing to move away from their parents’ homes. Many reasons are cited for this, ranging from the crash of the economy to sheer laziness among the younger generation. Transition programs are one way to fill the gap for young adults with special needs. They provide young adults stricken with “failure to launch” a way to motivate themselves toward an independent lifestyle. Selecting a Transition Program One way to choose a program from the growing number available is to ask yourself the following questions about any program you considering: Curriculum
  • What is the program’s curriculum based on? What are the principles and how does the staff adhere to them?
  • Where will your young adult be staying? Are they given the opportunity to practice the life skills the program will teach them?
  • Will your young adult be able to continue their education (if that is the goal)? What schools are available, and will the program help your young adult with their education?
  • Are there social events and other extracurricular activities hosted by the program? Do they encourage students to develop social connections?
  • How does the program help your young adult develop employable skills? Do they offer assistance with finding a job?
  • How successful are students with similar circumstances to your young adult’s in the program?
Current Students
  • What do the current students think of the program?
  • Has the program helped current students develop goals? Are they progressing toward them?
  • Have students been able to find jobs and move out on their own?
  • Are the staff members qualified for their positions? Are they participating in continuing education?
  • Do the staff members enjoy coming to work? Do they seem to truly care about helping the students?
  • How well do the staff members interact with the students? Is there a good rapport?
  • How available are staff members to students? Are counselors available at times other than what has been assigned to students?
And, perhaps the most important, what does your young adult think about the programs you are considering? Make an Informed Decision Once you have asked the above questions and compared the answers, you may find selecting the best program for your young adult has become much easier.

NDFYA Featured on Episode of Inside Pleasant Hill

Clinical Director Dr. Kent Grelling and Program Director Matt Xavier talk with Inside Pleasant Hill about NDFYA and the work we do for young adults with mild disabilities. Recently the California campus was given the opportunity to share our mission with Inside Pleasant Hill. Inside Pleasant Hill is a program showcasing news, people, locations, events, and organizations related to the city of Pleasant Hill, CA. All of the episodes can be viewed on Vimeo, and new episodes air on Comcast Channel 28, Astound Channel 29 and UVerse Channel 99 for local viewers. Our segment was a part of Episode 212, which was recorded on May 16, 2015 at the lovely and new Pleasant Hill Rec & Park Senior Center, and aired in June 2015. About the Episode During this video, Dr. Kent Grelling, licensed clinical psychologist and Clinical Director of the California campus, and Matt Xavier, one of our Program Directors, spoke with hosts Laura McCormack and Matt Rinn. They discussed what NDFYA offers for young adults and the types of students that find the most success in our program. They also talked about how the program works and the focus given to each student by every member of the staff. An Amazing New Home This video also gave us the opportunity to share how excited we are to have this additional campus in California. The Pleasant Hill location is especially great for those of our students who become interested in music, since there are a number of local music options available (many of which were shared on the episode!). We look forward to sharing these amenities with our students and are pleased to be welcomed by the Pleasant Hill community. Enjoy the episode!

NDFYA: Social Skills Program – Social Events

Comfort in social situations and the growth of new relationships, as well as knowing how to maintain relationships, is an important part of your young adult’s independence. To help students develop this skill and comfort, we plan a lot of social events for New Directions students and staff that allow everyone to interact and get to know one another. Plus, many of these social events also help students gain additional skills, such as cooking, that will remain important throughout their lives. You’ll see some of these events in this video, including:
  • Beach Night
  • Cooking Group
  • Bowling Night
  • BBQ Night
  • NDFYA Picnic
  • Sporting Events
  • Live Music

New Directions Student Testimonial, Vocational Success

A student talks about his experience in the New Directions for Young Adults Program. How the program mentors have helped him enrollment in school, helped him get a job and basically provide ‘round the clock assistance. He’s learned how to shop on a budget, how to stay organized, stay well groomed and all the small things that add up to big things. He discusses his recent success in his new job as a sales vendor, and how he now sees a future for himself.

New Directions Student Testimonial, Artist

A more mature New Directions for Young Adults (NDFYA) client talks about his experience with the program, from his beginnings in the program and the things he discovered about himself; how he found a job he loves based on his passion for art; classes that can help him professionally and personally; the friends that he’s made inside and outside the program; his relationships with other people and how the psychologist in the program have helped him. “You Can Have a Dream…but You’re Going to Have to Work Really Hard to Make it Come True”

Parents Videos

Parent Interview – Lessons Carried Forward

Michael Kellen, Ph.D., The Clinical Director of New Directions for Young Adults talks with the parent of a graduated New Directions for Young Adults student about her experiences at the New Directions program. Also discussed are observations about how the program helped her young adult. Discussed are changes in self-confidence, problem-solving abilities, frustration tolerance, and social skills. In addition, there is discussion about how developing those abilities was crucial to the student's successful transition into a typical college environment. New Directions serves clients both with and without autism spectrum disorder. New Directions for Young Adults is a transitional living program that strives to help young adults with autism and/or other mental health concerns develop independent living skills in a structured and supportive environment. Services are customized using “Direction Therapy” a multi-disciplinary clinical treatment that includes the academic, vocational, financial, life management, and social skill domains.

Parents of a college-aged young woman speak about their experience

Parents describe New Directions as the best decision they ever made

Parents of young woman with autism who attends college talk about New Directions

Proud Mom shares her experiences.

Mother of Young Adult Explains Why New Directions is the Perfect Place for Her Son

Parents of former clients speak about what services were most helpful for their young adult

The parent of a former client speaks about her concerns for her young adult and her feelings about when and why she felt a transition program was needed for her young adult. A mom speaks about how to know when your young adult needs more than parents can provide and manage.

Staff Videos

Staff Experience: Victoria Palmer

Staff Experience: Shannon C

Staff Experience: Thea

What Our Clients/Parents Say

Louisa Shingler
Louisa Shingler
NDFYA has been a great program for our son. He has achieved maturity and independence as well as improved social skills and navigation since participating in NDFYA’s multidisciplinary program. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the program to other neurodiverse young people and their families.
Staci Ross
Staci Ross
Our son has been with New Directions for 2 1/2 years. He has had some good days and some bad days. The staff is always there to support him. They help guide him to be an independent adult. There are many services available to meet every young adults needs. My son is thriving and I owe it all to the staff for working with him and our family.
Linda Stein
Linda Stein
Kind, warm and organized program that has the best interests at heart for the students. Our adult child is thriving, so happy there and has many friends, learning life and social skills. The program coordinators keep us advised of how things are going and we all work together to achieve the best result possible. I am so grateful for New Directions. They have provided so much guidance and love, giving our whole family new found happiness and hope for the future.
Andy Pond
Andy Pond
They do an excellent job of working with parents and their young adult kids —-helping them get “launched”.
New Directions serves young adults who "fall through the cracks" of other systems. We're glad we found the program for our daughter.
Doina Chiacu
Doina Chiacu
Highly recommend New Directions for young people trying to find their way in life. The staff is excellent - dedicated, professional, caring. They offer an array of services from therapy to academic and job support. A team of professionals evaluates your child's needs and meet regularly to discuss their progress, as well as meeting with parents regularly to keep them updated. Our son left the program more than a year ago but still uses services from a couple of members of their staff - he really clicked with them. These people really make a difference.
Edmund Hollander
Edmund Hollander
Our daughter has been at New Directions for a year now. She loves being there and is making progress. Her therapist and job coach are wonderful caring people as are her mentors and staff.
Karen R
Karen R
New Directions for Young Adults is positively changing lives, one client at a time with their years of clinical experience, dedication, genuine kindness and support! They have a multitude of services that have been professionally designed with proven results. Dr. Rubin, the Founder and Executive Director of New Directions for Young Adults, has a hands-on approach and oversees the entire day-to-day operation with brilliance. Dr. Rubin is a class act. Dr. Michael Kellen, Clinical Psychologist, is one of the finest professionals I have had the pleasure of meeting. Dr. Kellen is a superb observer, assessing and offering insights on each client he works with. We are very grateful for the time he's spent in counseling our son. It has truly changed his life! Thank you Dr. Kellen, we appreciate your expertise and all you do. Paula Katz, the Director of Vocational Services, is exceptional at her role. Paula genuinely cares about all her students and will go above and beyond working tirelessly with each student, as their job coach. I strongly and wholeheartedly recommended New Directions for Young Adults.
Tim Donmoyer
Tim Donmoyer
Life changing experience for our daughter. The nurturing, attentive staff and safe environment enabled our daughter (high functioning autistic with eating disorder) to regain her independence, make better life choices and build self esteem. Thanks to all!
It’s been a long haul but we firmly believe our son is in the best place possible for his long-term independence. Staff is wonderful and experienced. We are seeing improvement. Lots of services offered including therapy, tutoring, job placement assistance and social events. Our son wishes he had come here after graduating high school instead of going straight to college. He’s now getting the right amount of support to move forward.

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